People WATCH you.
As an unagented author, most of my blog and Twitter followers were people I met online, or friends of people I met online. We were all in the same boat, working on our manuscripts, fighting with edits, and dreaming big dreams. When I gave advice it was mostly in the context of that relationship. People were free to take or leave it, after all they were in the same place I was. I was happy in that place. I was comfortable.
Since I signed with Jenn a month ago, I've gained at least a hundred more Twitter followers and almost fifty new blog followers. I've met so many amazing people and my community has expanded so fast that it's increasingly hard to keep up. (Hence the new comment section and my earlier question about connection.)
Most of these new people are strangers to me, and a lot of them are unagented writers. And they WANT my advice. They're actively looking for wisdom and when I offer advice they take it seriously.
Which, to be honest, is kind of scary.
Every time I get a message or a comment by a new reader complimenting the blog, or thanking me for advice, I become two different people. Miriam #1 is deeply touched. That's the person who responds, the grateful one who loves to meet new people.
Meanwhile Miriam #2 is jumping up and down in the back of my head screaming "DON'T LISTEN TO ME! I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I'M DOING!"
I am not used to being take seriously by complete strangers. Heck, I'm not used to being taken seriously by people I know. Most of my life has felt like a struggle to get people to take me seriously. I'm a goofy, often absentminded marshmallow. A little sensitive, a little clueless. Someone who doesn't worry about the things she should and gets anxiety attacks over things no one else thinks is a big deal. Someone you love to pieces, but don't necessarily listen to.
And of all the strange, wonderful things about the last month, this is by far the strangest. People are listening. They're listening to ME.
It's only going to get worse. When I sell a book, when it comes out, and on and on. More and more people listening to me, watching me. I'm used to living my life under the radar, being invisible or at least mostly harmless. And now the question is this:
If people are listening, what do I say?
What would YOU say?