As bloggers, we face a dilemma – do we write about the things that we’re interested in, follow our own interests and write for ourselves? Or do we identify topics that our readers will want to read, and produce work for them, but run the risk of writing something that we have little or no interest in, but will attract an audience? Would that affect the quality of what we write?
This was the debate raging in my head after an episode of Criminal Minds when the quote that popped up asked Cyril Connolly’s question: ‘Is it better to write for self and have no public than to write for the public and have no self?’
What do you think? Do you agree with Connolly? Do you write for yourself or your audience? Or a bit of both?
If we follow our hearts, we remain true to ourselves and retain our authentic voice. That voice should come through in our writing.
If we start out blogging and focus on delivering to an audience, meeting their needs, it can be argued that because we are not writing about our own interests and passions, our own personality can’t come through as strongly. If we take this approach, do we lose ourselves?
I guess that’s the proposition put forward by Connolly. I think most personal bloggers, and those who rely on their own identity and personality professionally would tend to agree. We cannot afford to lose ourselves in our writing. We need to write in our own authentic voice as that’s what our readers expect, and I’m sure they would notice a change in writing style and level of engagement and passion with our writing.
I do wonder, however, if the reality can be a bit more complex. If we start writing for ourselves, being true to our own interest and values/opinions, we will hopefully attract and gain readers and followers who are interested in what we write. Does this mean that as we develop a relationship with our readers and followers/audience we can also write for them because our interests are aligned, we have a vested interest in those relationships, so we may in those circumstances write for the public, but not lose ourselves.
Most of the time I write for me, what motivates and inspires me, but if prompted by my readers, I would consider their interests.
Who do you write for? Would you consider writing for your audience? Please share your ideas in the comments; I’d love to read your thoughts.
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