How to write an article that goes viral

October 13 2016

Quitting everything to go to Nepal is one of the scariest pieces I have published. I felt like a gutted fish, open and raw, when I wrote it. I had just come back from my first trip to Nepal, and I had so many thoughts swirling in my mind. I didn’t know how to share them and no one wanted to hear ALL of my stories, so I started to write. And write. And write. Writing has now become a daily compulsion.

I didn’t set out to write a viral article. I wanted to talk about what was trapped inside of me, experiences I wanted to let go of. I was a shaken can of soda and decided it was time to rip the lid off. The more I wrote, the easier it was for me to see common themes in my writings: family (lack of), love (searching for), work (wanting to do something meaningful), fear (of everything), risk (daily choices and big, lifetime decisions). I know I’m not the only one whose dreams have suffered because of one or all of these issues.

I remember counting to three before I clicked “publish.” My stomach was in knots, I had read and reread and rewritten and read again, over and over and over. I thought the post was going to ruin me. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I knew deep in my bones that I had to write. Fear wasn’t going to stop me. Intimidation wasn’t going to stop me. Lack of confidence in myself and my choices wasn’t going to stop me.

As a writer, that’s what you need to do. Tell the story that hurts, the ones that make your skin prickle. Write the lessons you’ve learned that caused you pain and made you stronger. Ignore that obnoxious voice that whispers you’re not good enough, experienced enough, smart enough, important enough. Tell that voice to go to hell and write. Rip the lid off and write. Readers don’t want prefabricated lines. Give them YOU — your honest, messy, unrefined self.