Don’t Ask

Posted On December 22, 2023

Photo by Michele Venne

Years ago, a friend told me, “Don’t ask if you don’t want to know the answer.” I’ve returned to this advice more than once, especially when I ask someone their opinion on a project or performance, or agree when someone asks if they can give me feedback. There are many reasons why I hold my breath and try not to cringe outwardly when I listen to or read their critique/feedback/opinion.

I sent my yearly survey to my newsletter subscribers. Only a couple clicked on the survey in the first email, so I sent a reminder one and got a few more participants. Since I started writing and publishing 15 years ago, I have tried “all the things” when it comes to marketing. In the last couple of years, with the ease of technology, much of that has become easier. The idea being if I threw a wide enough net, then I would connect with my ideal readers. In the last year or so, the trend has been to find one or two strategies and drill down on those. The newest suggestions from those at the top of the industry is to back off of the shiny things, leave the buffet that has all the things, and return to self-care and why we write.

In my survey, which was only eight questions long, all multiple choice, I was curious about how else I connected with my subscribers and what content they were interested in having me deliver in my newsletter. Though the number of participants is fewer than last year, their opinions have clearly come through. I remind myself that I asked the questions because I wanted to know the answers. But the responses I got weren’t what I was expecting.

In planning for 2024, I was gearing up for doing “all the things.” More newsletters, more social media, more blogging, more of everything. I thought about how to fit it all in. Then the answers came in, and I know now that my subscribers/readers don’t want “all the things.” I’m divided between relief that I don’t have to fit in all the things, but also disappointed that they aren’t interested in all the things. But then I think about the coming trend for 2024, cutting back and returning to my why.

I’ve had my 2024 calendar since September. I’ve done lots of sifting through material about planning, organizing, intentions, goal setting, etc. In this last week of 2023, I find myself making a turn away from what I’d planned. After all, if I didn’t want to know the answers to the survey, I wouldn’t have asked. Those answers will inform my planning and my expectations moving forward. Have you ever asked a question and weren’t prepared for the answer?

Written by Michele Venne

Writer of immersive and intriguing stories.

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