Our Un-Psychic Audience: Reclaiming the Weight We Put On Magic’s Shoulders

So often we are saying this in different words.

Do you think about the way you communicate with the people that you expect to receive your art?

If we want to publicize ourselves, we need to think about what it is we are putting out there, especially if we want more attention than we are getting. We could also stand to have less of an expectation of psychic ability on the part of our audience. Let me explain.

There are times where we are expecting Magic to fill the gaps we leave. Once we see these places, we can start to fill them ourselves, leaving Magic to do bigger and better things. Maybe we can even admit that the less-than-desirable attention we are getting is actually related to the quality and energy of what we are offering.

Once we notice these things, we have more power to stop engaging in them unconsciously.

Indirect Communication & The Expectation of Magic

People can communicate indirectly. If you have been friends with or dated people who do it often, you know how frustrating it can be. “Don’t you hate when it’s chilly outside” can mean “Please turn the heat on, I’m cold.”  There are endless variations.

A friend who was studying linguistics told me that women are more likely to engage in indirect communication than men, and I don’t doubt it.

Within indirect communication, there is a kernel of an expectation of Magic. We expect that the proclamation of how we dislike cold is going to magically send our real meaning into the brain of the other person. It’s not always conscious, of course, but it is there. And it comes up in other ways.

Expectation of Magic With Writing

This pattern of expectation can affect our writing and other art.

With writing, if we assume that the background of a scene is laid out sufficiently when it is not, the reader can get confused. If we don’t think about a character’s underlying motives and personality, their drive is unclear and the story is not compelling.

This is why my first stories were crappy. I expected people to understand how interesting my ideas were because they appeared so in my head; like a child thinking you can’t see him because he is covering his own eyes.

Giving The Magic a Place to Stand: The Value of Effort

If you wanted to do NaNo, you could talk about it all you want from January to October. If November 1st rolls around and you still have to get yourself a computer, a desk, time off of work, typing lessons and a story idea, then you are not prepared.

If, on the other hand, you cleaned your desk, defragged your computer, stocked up on your favorite foods, had plenty of tea, took a few extra days off of work, saved money to cover that loss, and told your family and friends to expect less communication during the month of November, all by the middle of October, then your scene is set rather differently. You put in the work to give yourself the maximum amount of time to empathize with your characters and let the writing happen without extra hindrance.

I am willing to make an assumption that those who put in the effort before NaNo are more likely to write something that others would enjoy reading. And the same goes for other types of art and projects.

The Difference Between Frantic Advertising & Popularity

No matter how much we advertise ourselves to the world, we are not going to get real attention if our product sucks and if we aren’t really putting ourselves out there to the extent of our ability. That’s just how it goes, in my eyes.

Brene Brown‘s work on Vulnerability comes to mind. Despite the excited freshness with which she presents herself, she did many years of research before her famed TED talk. She was not just throwing some ideas together and hoping for the best like some people do with their blog posts (ahem). She did studies, she read books, she went to therapy; and only after building all of that solid ground did she share the results and touch an audience.

Music is similar. Someone who does a live guitar solo after years of practice is going to impress the crowd even if they make mistakes much more than the person who does a solo after playing for a month or two. The past effort shows, it informs the skill of the present, and it touches us when they can show us the extent of this skill in a vulnerable and fresh way. If the second person were to sing words that they’d been thinking about and reflecting on for years with a sensitive awareness, then that may be more touching than the guitar part; it all depends on what they share and when and to whom.

It basically seems like people recognize hard work and skill when they see it; not when they are told to.

How Do We Use This Information?

Maybe we can do a more honest acknowledgment of what we are putting out there, what we put into it, and how much that shows. Then we can reduce the tendency to think others psychically know that we deserve love and attention, and actually start showing them what we do and what we offer so that they can make their own choice.

Trust the things that you know, the things that you have been studying formally and informally. Trust them and share them, but perhaps be aware of where an assumption of a psychic audience  is creeping in. If people aren’t responding, figure out why it is the case. How would you see you if you were objective and had no idea of what was in your head? What is getting held back and does it add into the whole picture?  Maybe you will notice where you may not be reaching them with the greatness that you feel you have to share.

Aside from my closest friends and my mom, nobody would like the things I began writing at first.  I wasn’t deserving of praise and attention from an objective audience, and now it is obvious. But at the time, I was confused as to why my first blog posts weren’t catching on like wildfire. But now I get it, at least partially. I hardly knew what the hell I was doing, and still don’t, but I’m closer. Even if all of my friends share my posts, the people that come back and read them are those that are touched by what they see because they found it on their own; rarely if ever is it the people who I messaged and personally asked to come by. And I know that I have more sharing to do, more vulnerability to meet, and more techniques to employ in terms of applying the knowledge I’ve worked for many years to understand.

Maybe we need to understand our non-responsive audience more effectively. They aren’t psychic, we aren’t sharing something of value to them, and when we do, they will be touched and will come back for more. If we are sharing honestly and vulnerably and nobody cares, then perhaps we need to re-evaluate what we are doing if their attention is something that we require (such as anyone who wants to write or make art for a living).

This is a new way of thinking for me and I’m trying it on to see what new actions it may lead to. The last time I explored a mindset (paying more attention to vulnerability, from Brene Brown’s TED talk) I ended up cutting off five years’ worth of dreadlocks because I realized that the comfort I was gaining from them was not necessarily something I wanted to keep indulging in.

I  realize that my old writing was full of assumptions and expectations, laying a whole lot on the shoulders of Magic, and I’m only now starting to find my voice and hold that weight myself, letting Magic do what it wants and letting the psychic abilities of my readers be used for better things than figuring out what I’m trying to say. I’m supposed to be a writer, so it’s kind of my freaking job. I may as well step up to it.

What About You?

Do you think that you are getting the attention you think you deserve for your art, writing, or other type of work? If not, do you know what you want to do better? Do you want support in that regard?

Do you think that this is crazy and I’m totally off track, and that things can get organically famous and popular without the person having spent time on the skill or figuring out how to best share it with the world? Do those of us that are beginners have any hope of reaching people? Have you ever done something as a beginner and had it have a great impact on others?

Do you use indirect communication, or do you know someone who does? Is it less annoying to you than to me?

I always love your guys’ thoughts; they have helped me learn about my writing more than anything in the past.  Thank you so very much for sharing them, publicly and privately.

 

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26 thoughts on “Our Un-Psychic Audience: Reclaiming the Weight We Put On Magic’s Shoulders

  1. I try not to worry about the “getting it out there” part. I just try to stay honest and raw and let it be what it is. Whoever finds me, finds me because they found me. And those are the people that seem to like my work, stick around, and come back for more. Because my topic resonates with them. But I am just starting, only 3 months in as a blog writer. My intention of my blog is to document my journey. Share my experiences. If that helps someone, then I am blessed. But I am not at a stage where I am trying to tell anyone what to do, or trying to gain market share, or trying to “make” anything happen. But believe me… if a book deal dropped out of the sky, I wouldn’t resist it, I would welcome it with open arms. But the chances? I just don’t think or worry about it. I am too focused on the journey. I am curious if my opinion on this will change after time. BTW… love your work and am very fond of you as a person. 🙂 All my best, Dana

    • Aw I’m so happy you came by! If I’m ever in the position to offer book deals, you just helped me to realize that the way I shall offer them is by hiring doves to drop them from the sky when the author is walking out to their car..perfect! 🙂
      Your blog is very much amazing to me, I feel like you are able to capture that rawness with a vivid clarity that actually makes it translatable, versus when I do it, and it turns out as jumbles of mismatched logic strands 🙂

      • Wow, thank you for the compliment, that I am presenting with vivid clarity. I am so happy to hear that. 🙂 About your statement of jumbles and mismatched logic, I bet your followers would disagree with you, as do I. That is what is so cool about writers and their writings. No two people are the same. You think it is jumbles, but we are right there with you.

  2. When I cook, when I paint, there is a infinitely complex structure in my mind that I am seeking to realise: each result has been a poor copy of the structure for me; but many results have been complimented by others. So when I write I try to remember my judgement is always going to be slightly more negative than it could be; however, this means I definitely do not feel my work is unappreciated.

    • Thank you for sharing; the appreciation for me seems to be so key sometimes, even if it’s my own. It is interesting to think about actually predicting that your judgement will be slightly more negative than it could be..I’ll have to try that so it doesn’t keep surprising me as if it’s something new 🙂

  3. Very good post. I always enjoy your in-depth views and opinions that cause much thought and discussion.
    I try not to use indirect communication. The only time I ever do is with my eyes, when I generally move them in a certain direction as though to say to another ‘might you go there and do that for me?’.
    I however find indirect communication annoying, so I agree with you entirely when you express your frustration in regards to such communicative methodologies. The one thing that rattles me in its interpretative nature. Just because a person says a particular sentence (like a woman saying ‘I’m a little cold’, which might mean that she wants the man in her presence to hold her for warmth) may mean something entirely different in the mind of the bloke.
    There is of course a vast amount of indirect ways of communicating that I could comment (and rave about) on all day – long story short, I find it especially annoying when in regards to dating, relationships, and the mixed signals that people send whilst running around trying to find their future ex-partner.
    In regards to your first question, I think this deserves two conflicting answers. One, a person’s interpretation of what they deserve will continuously be different (perhaps) to that of others. One may believe they deserve the attention of a mass audience, whilst another may only wish to acquire the attention of one person in particular. Secondly, I personally find thinking about such thoughts to be a tad pretentious and egotistical. Whenever I begin thinking about what I deserve, and whether I believe I deserved more, I usually attempt to analyze why I came to such conclusions, and whether or not they were valid. Basically, one will receive what they receive, promotion or no promotion. In regards to whether or not I ever wish to have help – I’m more of a suffer in silence kind of person. As an example – I could probably lose my left arm and not ask anyone for assistance.
    Lastly, I don’t think you are crazy, and I doubt anyone who reads your words would believe such an ideology. I agree that on occasion one can simply acquire a great amount of popularity with very little talent, training or previous attempts. I myself find this a little annoying if I placed a great amount of time and effort into something, only to conclude with less than that of another who didn’t put in as much work. However, I think, or hope, that everyone will eventually shine at one point or another. Don’t we all deserve our five minutes of fame?
    One moment that comes to my mind when something had significant impact on others was when I was in a band, and the band and I performed our first original piece. I’d written other lyrics and music before but had never publicly performed them, and the lyric (I remember, it was titled ‘I see you’) was well received.
    Thank you again for creating another great post! 😀

    • I’m so glad you came by! Wow, what kind of music did you play? That must have been a very interesting and supportive feeling to have the song received so well. Sometimes I have to hit “publish” on my post before realizing that I am not even sure what my main point was…I think you are right on that we simply get the attention that we get, and it sometimes has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of effort we have put in or training we have gotten.
      Perhaps there is a longing in me to use the knowledge that I had gained through college, herbalism school, and massage school for more than I am currently using it for. I think that is where this is coming from…and I’m working towards finding more ways of stepping up to my inner standards, this may be a good motivation!

  4. I think your blog has matured beautifully. You clearly put time and thought into your posts, and they are genuinely interesting (your last 3/4 downright marvellous).
    I’m a vomiter – I write while the anger / love / thought has me gripped – and rarely edit. On the other hand I’ve studied writing and have an MA, and I think this ‘background’ knowledge helps to stop my posts getting too haywire – or needing to many psychics! (psychotics maybe!)
    I love the NaNo point. I’m already Sooooo bored of the ‘ my nano’ posts – especially the ones where the blogger writes 1,500 words on how they haven’t met their 2,000 word daily target! (Then write your crap for your NaNo and stop boring me with it!!)
    Oooh, I’m a meanie 😉

    • Thank you for your support! That is so interesting…it would be neat if blogs somehow had a little ticker telling us how long each person spent writing the post and at what level their emotional intensity was, wouldn’t it? I bet there is such a great rainbow of variety! Sometimes I think of having a separate blog where I can do that type of writing with more emotion and less editing; there is such amazing value to that!

      • I’ve been tempted by multiple blogs too, as my stuff is so varied I think people find it hard to know what’s coming. But while I may get fewer readers being random, they’ll be an interesting bunch and more valuable for that!
        We can’t be all good things, but we can all be good things 🙂

  5. I love this Jen. You are so wise. I am totally guilty of ‘lazy’ achievement. I put in minimal effort as expect great results. In early bringing days I was frustrated I didn’t have an audience. But I wasn’t doing anything about it. My writing was incoherent and inconsistent. It’s only by committing most of my free time to my blog that it has generated an audience. And I have a lot more work do do on my writing itself! X

    • Zanni I always love your writing 🙂 But yeah- I bet that part of what I love are the things you’ve been working on from that experience! I adore watching your Facebook page- it’s so amazing to see how much attention it generates organically because of the authenticity and vulnerability that you put out there.
      That is one of the things I want to learn more about- how we can learn certain types of authenticity and vulnerability based on what really does touch people, and when we see it touch people, we are maybe more likely to keep doing it! (at least I am) it’s just so great how much real support is out there. Thank you for reading my writing, I’m always honored 🙂

      • You are welcome! It’s always a pleasure. I hadn’t considered about how powerful it is to expose your vulnerability until you just mentioned it. You are very right about that, as you are about most things!

        • Haha oh, you feed my ego. Have you seen the Brene Brown video I posted? I don’t know how much space you have for listening to videos in the background, but most of the things I’ve been saying recently about vulnerability are from her- she did a whole lot of studies, and she’s a great story teller; if you are ever spending time playing quietly with your kids, it may be fun to listen to Brene Brown! She is kid-friendly, they’d probably just tune her out if you ever listened to her in the background..she’s pretty inspiring 🙂 Her book is called Daring Greatly and I plan on reading it soon, so I’ll be sure to have quotes from it on here and the FB page!

  6. I like what you said about writing best. I find it difficult to strike that balance between not boring my reader with obvious details but providing them with enough to get lost in what I am saying difficult. I know I often fall short…ahh…practice.

    • I think you have one of the best balances, for what that’s worth. You’re one of the bloggers I try to learn from! It’s interesting to think of the “obvious details,” and the way you phrased that helped me remember that it can partially be frustrating because of the diversity of the audience, especially on WordPress. When there’s a professor to write to or a specific class or a group of people for a specialized book, it seems it’s a lot clearer what those obvious details are. Here it’s hard because those boundaries are so different. Hmmm..

      • You raise such a good point and that is exactly what I struggle with. I’m honored that you try to learn from me. I’m uber blushing over here. Just…for what it’s worth…it’s something I struggle with and I’ll change a post ten times sometimes adding and taking away tiny details. If you go back and re-read something you commented on a long time ago, you’d probably find small changes…cuz I’m evil like that. I agree that knowing your audience can be the main component in deciding how much info needs to be given.

        • I don’t think that’s evil, I bet if writers could have done that with their books long ago, they totally would. If you change a post, does it re-send it to everyone? If not, I’ll probably go back and do the same thing! There are some that I may straight up delete as well, just because they are so old but sometimes people find them via google.

          • Some people say it’s ethically wrong, especially if you’ve already gotten comments because people were responding to THAT content. I don’t usually change big things or if I do I make it obvious that I have with an update note at the bottom. usually it’s just tweaking details.

            • I may just delete some old ones, I would mostly use that edit thing for like right after I post it and realize that there’s something I forgot, or if I noticed a typo. Also I would probably never notice if a post changed; I would just thing my mind had holes, as it sometimes does. 🙂

            • part of the reason I have a colored background is because the different color helps me pick up on my mistakes. If you read my post within the first 15-20 minutes or so of it being posted, it’s basically a rough draft. I edit it rapidly after that. I try to post when people are mostly at work for that reason. lol. Sometimes I don’t get to it quickly enough though and I’m getting comments before I’m done editing. Ah well.

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