I still remember the day when I discovered that half of all academic papers are never read. I was on my way to teaching a class when I met a colleague. We talked briefly, and I made a point about how difficult combining research and writing is. He responded “Oh, don’t worry. Chances are nobody will read your stuff.”
That was not a fun fact at all. At that time I had published more than 30 articles in various journals, edited one book and published another as the sole author.
The truth was that my writing was helping me to stay in the academic game, but it wasn’t driving the impact that I wanted to make: the hard work of connecting emotionally to others.
It was the conversations with others in informal settings, in cafes, in corridors, in the early mornings, that were changing minds and hearts.
When you see your story as a way to connect and transform the reality around you, it changes the way you see your work. You start caring about your content and posting just as much as you care about a conversation in a cafe. Because in the mind of a storyteller, everything counts.