Do you write for yourself or are you writing for readers?
Many people think of blogs as being a place where you can write your thoughts without any reference of the other side of the screen, our readers.
You don’t have to have an audience. Writing for yourself can be fun, therapeutic, even. You might have comments and contact form enabled, but are you listening? It’s worth asking yourself.
For a long time my various blog incarnations were in the form of a personal diary. While the content is embarrassing in some ways, it’s interesting for my wife and I to look back into our 10 years ago lives through the magic of the wayback machine. It’s amazing the things that were on our minds and what we got up to could change so much in this time. In some ways being able to write that kind of content without any audience is a benefit, you don’t have to censor anything for a start.
That said, I love to write with people in mind. I need to know that I am talking to someone, and that they can reply.
Other than my personal blog and my “hello world” personal website when I first discovered Mosaic web browser on my 9200 baud modem, the sites I built right from the start always had an audience. The site I often think of as my first actual blog, but maybe not, was my Science Fiction “online magazine” hosted at the college where I worked. That site is where I would write about geeky topics like Red Dwarf and Dr Who, with a lot of mentions of the goings on in my favorite Usenet newsgroups. I had a firm idea of who I was talking to, and they did respond. In fact I made some great friends.
To me that is the real joy of blogging. Not the publishing, but the interaction. With comments and trackbacks, blogs are more than the sum of their parts and we all grow and benefit.
Are you just writing or are you listening too?