Read This! Or Don’t. Either Way, I Still Love You

It's okay if you don't read my writing, Friends and Family

By Angela Noel Lawson

April 29, 2019

Something’s been on my mind and I think it’s about time I share it with you. Being a friend or family member of a writer can be tough. We writers are always publishing, posting, promoting . . .  And though we try not to overwhelm you, I don’t think we always succeed. So, I’m here to tell my people: It’s okay if you don’t read my writing. Really, it is.

If I ask you if you’ve read my latest essay, it doesn’t hurt my feelings if you say no. I’m only asking because I don’t want to tell you the same story you might have already read. Believe it or not, I’m trying NOT to be annoying. Inevitably, though, I worry. I worry you’ll think I’m expecting you to read everything or anything. Truthfully, I’m not.

You have many demands on your time. Liking or reading my work is not a condition of our friendship. If you aren’t reading, it just means you don’t have time, or don’t like reading in general, aren’t online much, or prefer cat videos to essays about parenting, leadership, personal development, life, equality, or relationships. That’s totally okay with me. You are still my friend. You are still my family. I love you no matter what. My biggest fear in this whole writing thing is that I exhaust you. I don’t want to do that. You matter more to me than anything. And I never, ever want you to feel like you have to read what I write to show me that you care.

Honestly, I’m just like you. For example, let’s say you like camping gear. Let’s say you go to great lengths to find the most perfect camping gear in the universe. Now I like gear just fine. But, if you want me to admire your gear as much as you admire it, well, I probably won’t. And that’s fine. That’s good. You can have your camping stuff and I can have my essays and we can still love each other. Neither your gear nor my essays are more important than the other. They’re simply artifacts of our unique experiences.

And yet . . .

Why I write . . . and why I hope you read

Don’t get me wrong, I still want people to read what I write; people, not necessarily you, exactly. I write for the same reason a sculptor sculpts; I see a vision and I want to make it manifest. Words are my art. They help me describe the world the same way a great piece of visual art makes a kind of statement about who we are and what the heck we’re doing here on this planet. I write for myself, because it makes me happy to create. But, I also write for readers. I think by sharing our stories and our insights, we drive discovery for each other. My way of doing something, or my conclusions, may not be yours, but my goal isn’t to change your mind or prove myself correct. Instead, I want to contribute to the conversation–the human conversation.

So, friends and family, please read what I write if it speaks to you. Please let the words be part of a conversation either between you and I, or between you and someone else. It makes my day to hear from people in my life who’ve been reading my words and found them worthy. But, it’s not your job to make my day. It’s your job to make your own day. And if you happen to read what I’m sharing with the world, that’s awesome. But don’t do it because you think I expect it of you. And don’t let the fear that it might upset me to learn that you aren’t reading drive a wedge between us. I understand, I really, truly do.

The rest of you, though, the readers whom I’ve yet to meet in person, this writing is what we share. This is our lifeline to each other. And until we meet in real life, I hope you stick around. I hope the words on this page are a bridge between the person I am and the person you are, and the people we’ll become. Maybe we’ll never meet. Or maybe we will. Until then, thank you for reading. I’m delighted we get to share a few minutes together even if we’re separated by space and time.

By the way, I think you’re great. I do. If you’ve met me, you’ve probably heard me say that to you in one way or another–because it’s true and because you are. Happy reading . . . or cat video-watching . . . or camping gear-collecting. I hope I see you soon.



Author: Angela Noel

On a quest to become a better human, I write about parenting, leadership, and personal development. I tell my stories so you can find your own.

23 thoughts on “Read This! Or Don’t. Either Way, I Still Love You”

  1. But…..I really like reading your stuff. I learn things that I didn’t know about when you were growing up.

  2. I feel the same about my writing and my painting. 🙂 A very honest and descriptive post that I’m sure many people can connect with. I do enjoy your writing, and I can tell that a lot of thought, research, and work goes into each one of your posts. I’m always more than happy to read your stories and connect with you afterwards.

  3. I agree with everything here Angela. I feel really lucky to have connected with you online. 😀

    Oooh I nearly forgot to tell you this, but when Shannon and I met up, we discussed how lucky we are to have such an awesome group of supportive blogging friends. In particular, we both said that we’d love to meet you and Erin. You are both also so inspiring (and interesting to read.) aaand you both leave the most thoughtful and sweet comments. You should feel appreciated, because you are appreciated.

    *I think I might have to post it to fb as I never want to make friends and family feel like the have to read my posts, but I am happy when they do. I just would never have managed to put it so eloquently.*

    1. That is so so good to hear. I feel the same about you and Shannon and Erin too! I had a little fantasy that maybe the four of us could find a hiking time someday. I am WAY less experienced than you and Shannon–and way less athletic than Erin, but I’d be willing to give it a go!
      I’m also glad the message of this post speaks to you (and might be worth sharing with your own people.) 🙂

    2. Let’s plan a hike sometime (sooner would be great 🙂 ) ! I would LOVE to go on an adventure with all of you (Josy, Shannon, and Angela). PLEASE?!?

  4. Hi Angela, I thought I’d left a comment here but obviously not!! I loved this and couldn’t have said any of it any better myself, you hit the nail on the head and said it so well. Thank you for articulating what I am thinking. I’ll be sharing a link in my wrap-up post this Friday.

    1. Hi Debbie! I got your email too. I don’t know why the comment took a while to show up but I’m sure glad it did. Thank you for reading–both the post and my words in general. I’ve learned so much from you and other bloggers and writers all over the world.
      This post was truly straight from the heart. Thank you for sharing it on your round up!

      1. Thanks for your comment Angela, and I’m glad mine showed up eventually. You always have so much to offer. I also appreciate your kind words about learning from others, including me.

  5. I love this, Angela. I too feel really awkward if a topic comes up in conversation that I have just written about on my blog. I want to talk about it more, but then I feel like I might be repeating myself if that person has read my blog. If someone I know in real life says that they enjoyed a post, I have a tendency then not to give their praise enough attention because I go all bashful. But it does mean so much that they have wanted to comment on it.
    I suppose the crux of it is that writing is very exposing, and you have to get used to putting stuff out there.
    And yes, I agree. There are lots of people that I am close to who don’t read my blog, and it doesn’t make any difference to our relationship. In some ways it gives me the freedom and space away from writing that I really need.

    1. I feel bashful too! I try and remember how important it is to take in the praise and acknowledge it wholeheartedly. But, it can be hard in a strange way.
      Thanks so much for reading this, and being a part of my writing journey.

  6. Well said, you’ve read my mind and what goes through it with every blog post. It’s a fabulous outlet to write and one that will happen no matter what, it’s part of who we are. 👏

  7. Ooooooooooooh yes. this is why I write under a different name–I hate that obligatory “good job” type of comment from people who think they *have* to say something like that because they’re friends/family. Lovely outreach, my friend, and Happy Mother’s Day! x

    1. Happy Mother’s Day. Honestly, I didn’t know you used a pseudonym. I thought about it, primarily for my child’s sake, but couldn’t find a way to make any other name feel like my own. I’m glad you could relate to the message here. I don’t have the experience of having a published work out there that others can buy or hold in their hands. So I imagine that’s a whole new dimension to the journey.

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