I QUIT…trying to go viral

I quit sticky note on keyboardTo be honest, I started blogging 6 months ago because I wanted to go viral. One of the first blogs I read was by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-hour Work Week. I had no idea what blogging was. But I knew authors needed a social media “platform” that they could “monetize.”

Every time an article came up on my twitter feed about increasing readership, I stopped what I was doing and clicked on it. I learned about catchy headlines, search engine optimization, the Art of Being Interesting, and optimal times to post for new hits. I spent almost as much time reading about getting hits than I did writing or researching the books I wanted to write.

I saw going viral as the golden ticket. All my worries would be over if I could just get one of my articles read by millions of fans. I envisioned book contracts, TEDTalks, and interviews with Oprah.

It took me six months to realize that my desire to go viral stemmed from my two biggest fears–fear of what others think about me and fear of not being able to provide for my family (I recently wrote a post about these fears). Even though I don’t get paid a cent, I QUIT. I’m done with trying to go viral. I’m embracing my fears and looking for validation elsewhere.

“Speak your truth even/especially if your voice shakes.”~Jeff Foster

I’m always preaching about being authentic and staying in the moment, but I was hypocritically trying to please some critic in the future named Viral. I changed who I was and what I wrote to lure Viral into my readership. Screw Viral. I’m writing what I believe is important even if no one reads it.

One of my mentors recently did an interview at Rohan7things.wordpress.com. In the interview, Dianne Gray states:

Not everyone is going to like what you write (in fact, some people may hate it), but as long as you’ve enjoyed writing it and are confident in yourself it’s important to keep going and doing what you love. This is why I say ‘I write for myself’, I love letting those creative juices out.

Wise words, indeed. No more catering to Viral. No more acting out of fear. Write for myself, not for the money. Even if I can’t afford to send my sons to college, I hope they will remember how I fought everyday to be authentic. I might not be able to buy them presents, but I will shower them with presence.

In analyzing these desires to go viral, I realized that all my fears are rooted in one central fear of not being loved. I remember a time when I was financially well off and extremely popular, yet I was lonely.  As I sit here today, I feel so blessed to love and be loved by my wife and children. I am also grateful for all my blogging best friends who send me love in comments, smiley faces, {{{{hugs}}}, and likes. I guess what I’m saying is I’d much rather have a Facebook page with 10 dear friends than a page with thousands of friends who don’t even know I blog.

We are all rich beyond measure. We are all loved. Start from that foundation, and speak your truth. These are the new mantras at Everyday Gurus. Care to join me?

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

What about your? Do you crave going viral or are you happy with your penicillin posts? Please share. 



138 comments on “I QUIT…trying to go viral

  1. KM Huber says:

    I apologize for taking so long to respond to this post but life is like that, as you well know. This sentence is absolutely brilliant, and reveals the man, the father, and the husband: “I might not be able to buy them presents, but I will shower them with presence”. As for the rest of us, we revel in reading you, for coming to your blog is always a breath of fresh air, and we are better for it.


  2. Wow- I drafted my six month review of blogging a week ago and said something similar – I will link to your post when I get it out of drafts and o to my blog!

  3. Beautiful post. – I post what I feel guided to share and I believe that if there’s something I’ve written that would help anyone, they’ll be guided to find the post, even if that’s only a small number of people. Ultimately it wouldn’t serve any purpose (other than perhaps financially) for a few hundred people to read (or just scan if even that) a blog post if it wouldn’t serve them in any way. – – I also believe following the money doesn’t usually take someone in the same direction as following their heart and happiness would take them. – – Not that you need to hear this from me… you’ve done something amazing with your Bloggers4Peace project. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      One of my girlfriends used to tell me “be true to your heart, and the money will follow.” I’m now working with the idea of “be true to your heart, even if the money does not follow.”
      Jeff Foster said something very interesting. He said, “Just because you are completely authentic does not mean you will get what you want.” My goal in life is to be authentic. I am a work in progress. Blogging helps me towards my goals.

      I love how are motivated by helping others, Rev Dani. That is the piece/peace I have to keep reminding myself of. Thank you for the wisdom and generosity. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  4. Yeah, I wanted to go viral and get on all the talk shows and then have my own reality show and everyone’d be all like hey she’s awesome even tho she’s old ha ha, and whatever. hey, you went to school with kristi yamaguchi? (saw that on Rarasaur)

    • Kozo says:

      It still might happen for us, ES. 🙂 Just because we quit focusing on going viral doesn’t mean that we might still go viral. It just means that we are going to be authentic.
      Kristi went to my church. She is a lot younger than I am, but I had a huge crush on her sister, Laurie.
      More interesting to you would be that I used to be good friends with some of the best surfers in the world. Long story, short boards. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  5. raimyd says:

    I’m in! I can’t stand writing for hits, likes, or stats. Write your truth, if it helps even one person then you’ve already made a difference. Just so you know, you’ve made a difference in my life.

    • Kozo says:

      Music to my ears, Raimy. Just to let you know, the feeling is mutual. Your post about insecurities and body image helped me immensely. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • raimyd says:

        I’m very happy to hear it. That’s all I’ve ever wanted out of blogging, to help. Now a little money wouldn’t hurt but then again that might just take all the fun out it. 😉

  6. EJ says:

    It took me 6 months to work out tags and categories so viral was never a plan. Blogging was a gentle way into sharing work and building confidence; I still get nervous when I post creative pieces like the peace poem! I’m just grateful people finally found me, and that I’m now part of a network of mutual support across the globe 🙂
    Be the blogger you want to be 😉

    • Kozo says:

      We are all growing and learning here, EJ. I never knew blogging would be such a transformational experience, but that is what it has become. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  7. I have struggled with this very thing! I’m just now progressing past the writing phase in my blog and into working with keywords and analytics to increase my site’s visibility. While writing I’ve gone back and forth about my style (it’s not super accessible, tends to be long-winded, and isn’t funny enough to keep people interested, I also have a problem sounding relatable or seeming as though I’m giving people a feeling for who I am through my posts–funny thing about that is if you talked to me, you’d recognize my post style in my conversation). What I’ve found is that authenticity brings a different and more engaged reader than writing to be popular. The few times I have tried to be something I’m not (writing for the viral age), I’ve felt unsettled as soon as I hit the “publish” button. Anyway, the point to this super long and ridiculously explanatory comment is that being yourself is really the best way to be!

    Besides, you’re awesome and so is your blog: why would you want to be anything other than that?

    • Kozo says:

      First, PS, thank you for your honest and heart-felt comment. I think we have all pandered to the viral desire. I agree that being ourselves is the best way to be. Authenticity does not just help us connect with others, but it helps us know ourselves. I’m trying to be more and more authentic everyday. We’ll see where that takes me and this blog. Thank you for your empathy. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  8. Lada Ray says:

    First of, HUGS to you, Kozo! You are very loved and very lovable. But you already know that.

    We often equate (especially, but not exclusively, in the Western world) recognition, validation and love with tangible things, things we can see or measure. This is because we oftentimes feel lost and lonely in this big world we call Earth. Before it was: how big of a MacMansion we’ve got and how expensive of a car we’re driving, or how much money we have in our bank account, or how beautiful our wife is (for men)/ how powerful our husband is (women). And now, it’s all about clicks, followers, how many copies we sell, how many views we get.
    Why do some books (often mediocre at best) sell on Amazon, and some, similar, or infinitely better ones, don’t? This is not a reflection on the author, but rather on the audience.

    That’s why – hell, yeah – got to write for ourselves, first and foremost. And if a book of ours makes it big, this will be the gravy and a wonderful surprise.

    P.S. Speaking of clicks and follows: followed ya on Youtube. 😉 This is me: http://www.youtube.com/user/LadaRay


  9. Stuck Sucks says:

    Thank you for this very honest post. I started my blog just as a way to release my frustration of being stuck, but lately have been getting caught up in thinking about this – how many responses, views, etc. I also have worried about others’ judgment of what I write, and my blog is anonymous! How crazy is that? Really appreciate your vulnerability to share this.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Ahhh, BSS, the gifts of blogging. We are so blessed to be able to express ourselves and learn about ourselves while expressing. I, too, have felt the same way about judgment. I’m realizing that I can’t control judgment, but I can control my ability to act without fear of judgment. Thank you for YOUR honesty and vulnerability. You inspire me to be authentic. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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