Potty Training vs. Developing a Readership (more alike than you’d think)

Poop goes in the potty. Don’t believe me? My 24 month old could tell you this too. Some days. Other days it’s the panicked look of a deer in headlights as a turd log plummets down his pant leg and rests comfortably around his ankle somewhere.

I know it’s weird to compare two seemingly unconnected topics, but this one is for the mom writers and dad writers who have ever spent more than ten minutes a day thinking about someone else’s bowel movements.

It has to be done.

WRITING: You will look more attractive to any agent or publisher out there if you have some sort of platform already built. The idea is that if 25k followers care about what you have to say, that’s 25k people who might buy your book, or tell someone about your book, or sneak your book into a staff pick slot at a local bookstore…

POTTY TRAINING: Your kid can’t go to school if he’s still shitting his pants.

You have to start from scratch.

WRITING: It feels so lonely out there in Twitter-Land when you post your first tweet to…no one. You have zero followers. That first blog post you write gets a couple pity likes, or maybe someone follows you (finally) solely so that you will follow them back. And maybe, just maybe, someone reads your first chapter of the WIP you have posted on Wattpad…but they didn’t leave a comment.

You have to start somewhere.

POTTY TRAINING: Your child is without a diaper for the first time since he was born (apart from changes, baths, and naked tantrums of course). You sit him on the potty and he looks at you with a blank stare. What am I supposed to do with this? Pee in the potty. What is pee?

Shit. He has no idea what you’re talking about.

Getting the first few.

WRITING: You’ve crafted quippy tweets, posted and subsequently edited several blog posts to make sure they are perfect and FINALLY get a notification that you have a follower.

Those first few followers, subscribers, likes, comments, retweets, pins, etc. are each tiny little validations. Validations that someone wants to hear from you, that someone thought what you had to say was interesting, or that someone wants you to follow them back. At this stage, it doesn’t matter why, it just matters that you’re popping up on their feed. One follower grows to ten, then grows to one hundred before you realize what’s even happening.

POTTY TRAINING: You’ve spent the morning watching your child like a hawk. Every squat, pause, or awkward little toddler dance is suspect as you try and predict when your kid will pee. Then right there, in the middle of the living room, a glorious stream of pee showers the bean bag (at least it’s plastic, self-five!) you rush to the potty saying “you’re peeing, hold it, hold it, pee goes in the potty, your peeing, hold it, okay there you go, go pee in the potty” and a few drops make it into the basin.

You’re feeling depleted, you have nothing else to give. You have a puddle of piss to wipe up and your little one has no idea what just happened. But then –“Whoa,” he sees the pee and he knows it came from him. He squeezes a few more drops out and giggles. YES! Immediate feeling of superior mom complex commence.

I could probably keep writing about potty training and writing for the rest of the night but my target audience doesn’t have time for that right now. So if you take anything with you from this post let it be the following:

  1. You have to start somewhere
  2. Poop goes in the potty

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