It occurs to me that posting words to online publishing platforms is a little bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall while you're cooking it - waiting for a piece to stick. The only problem is that once a piece does stick, you typically have no idea why it did so.
All that sparkles isn't gold
Perhaps the most maddening thing is spending hours on a piece of literary confecture - spell checking it, grammar checking it, proofreading it, fiddling with it, proofreading it again, and finally posting it - and later discovering that one person seemingly accidentally clicked on it two days later.
Or you submit your writing to a "Publication" - imagining the offices of Paris Match, Vogue, or the building visited by Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face" - and become filled with self-doubt when a Rolls Royce is not immediately despatched to transport you to a typewriter in a skyscraper, surrounded by fawning assistants.
Fame is almost always accidental
Sometimes - if you're incredibly lucky - one of your posts won't so much stick to the wall, as block the plumbing for the entire town. Before you know it, enough people to fill a football stadium have read your words, and you climb under a large rock - convinced you're about to be found out. You're not entirely sure what you're about to be found out for, but you can think up some pretty good accusations. Crimes against grammar and punctuation, perhaps.
It's all a bit of a mystery, this "publishing to the internet" escapade. "The unknown audience" sounds wonderfully enigmatic - almost the title of a psychology research paper - and yet the audience for our words remains largely unknowable.
Facing the abyss
Daring to reach out to an unknown audience can seem terrifying. Just as your words might meet with days of silence, you fear stepping up to the edge of the internet abyss. Are there any readers out there? Will you look stupid? Are you wasting our effort?
Here's the thing - unless you take a chance, you'll never find out. It turns out life is all about taking chances. You're already putting your words out there - so you might argue it's not such a big step to put yourself out there too - to engage with those reading your words.
Growing your forest
Each conversation plants a seed, potentially growing a friendship. If you keep planting seeds, before long you find yourself standing in a forest of your own making - and while the trees might not grow pasta, you'll find you're no longer alone.