One of the main tenets I’ve focused on throughout the creation of this blog is the notion that I am not writing for myself.
Honestly, I want to go back to my old self, slap him around, and say “Uh, duh!”
Why would I be writing for myself? That makes no sense. Does anyone ever start a blog thinking “Gosh, I hope nobody reads this”?
I mean, it’s possible to keep a personal, private blog; but this obviously isn’t one. So would I really post anything here without you – yes, you – in mind?
Definitely not. I’m starting to really like you guys. I want you to enjoy your time here!
Since I’m writing for an audience, I have to shift my purpose while putting together each post I publish. If it was just for me, I could write down whatever I want. I wouldn’t need a filter. I wouldn’t need to plan. I wouldn’t need to do any research. I could just write haphazardly.
But my posts wouldn’t be very valuable to you, would they?
I wouldn’t invite communication with an “All About Me” blog, right?
And my posts wouldn’t create opportunities for my readers, or myself, to improve their (or my) life in some way, would they?
I hope it’s clear that the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding “no.”
As a blogger, I need to make sure each and every post I publish is valuable, community-driven, and usable in some way.
I’m willing to bet that none of you reading this are doing so to read about how I feel about some hot-button issue or how I’m doing as a human being. I’m not saying you’re cold-hearted, or a jerk or something. I just mean you didn’t click on my blog thinking “I hope this guy I never met but whose blog I follow is having a great day.” Why should you care about how my day is going? That’s not why you’re here.
You came here to see if my content could add to your knowledge and life experience. You came here to benefit yourself. If what I have to say doesn’t change you for the better in some way, you won’t be coming back tomorrow, right?
There’s nothing wrong with that. This content is for you. If you don’t get what you want out of it, then I haven’t done my job – and I can’t blame you for not coming back.
So now, before I even start outlining my posts, instead of thinking “What do I want to write about?” I think “What do my readers want to read about, and how can I provide that for them?”
For some of us going through the Daily Post’s Blogging 101 course, this might cause a rift in your original outlook on blogging (as it did with me). If you’re not writing what you want to write about, can it still be fulfilling?
I’m hoping you know the answer is “absolutely.”
Let me clarify something: I’m not saying I don’t want to write about what I’m writing about right now. I’ve always been a huge fan of metacognition (thinking about thinking), so blogging about blogging is definitely right up my alley.
But my goals for this blog are not to simply write about whatever is on my mind at any current time. That material would best be saved for a personal blog or journal – one which I don’t expect to get much traffic on.
My goals for this blog are to provide value, and in doing so, create a community of bloggers to share ideas with. So instead of using this space as an outlet for whatever I feel like venting about, I have to shift my focus whenever I set out to publish a post on this blog.
Like I said, I’m definitely enjoying creating the posts I’ve written over the past week. But the best part about creating this blog is the comments and follows I’ve received in the past few days.
I mean it. That chime on my phone every time I get a like, comment, or follow has been music to my ears. The knowledge that I’ve created something which people have found worthwhile and helpful is incredibly rewarding.
But it doesn’t end there.
The comments I receive have been insightful, helpful, inspirational, and useful. By providing valuable content for others to read, I’ve opened the door for others to share their knowledge with me, as I have with them.
That’s what blogging really is all about: Building community.
The feeling of fulfillment from maintaining this blog doesn’t just come from the writing. It comes, in large part, from the connections I make, and the community I’ve helped create through my writing.
It’s a much more profound feeling than simply writing a long-winded diatribe on how I feel about some political issue or whatever. Nobody would read that, anyway.
By creating posts which are valuable to others, I’m doing more than simply writing a blog entry. I’m creating the potential for bigger and better opportunities, both for my readers and for myself.
I’d like to think that many of you who have read my posts have gained insight of some sort into the world of blogging (judging by some of the comments I received, I believe this to be the case!). I would love to know that you’ve used the insight gained here to improve your own blog, and in turn improve your chances of getting noticed by others in the blogosphere.
But let me be selfish for a minute. I want that for me, too!
Sure, creating a community is a great feeling in that I’m glad to be providing value to others. But I also hope to provide professional writing opportunities for myself through the connections I make in the community I’m trying to create. Is that so wrong?
As long as I’m creating a give-and-take relationship with my readership, I believe the answer here is: “No way!”
I think we’ve come full circle, here. Even though I’m no longer writing about “whatever I want to write about,” by creating valuable content for you, I’m at the same time doing what’s best for me as a professional writer.
As long as I’m giving you a piece of the cake, can’t I have some, too?