So, exercise 9 for my way behind blogging 101, and I’ve chosen to expand on the comment I left on a writer’s site where she was questioning why she was writing and who it was for. I commented: “It’s the big question isn’t it? Why are you writing and for whom. I try to write for both, as I have discovered how exciting it is when somebody actually reads what you wrote. I go back to something Fay Weldon wrote in her “Letters to Alice” where she basically advises writers to ignore other writers because it’s readers that matter.”
Now a lot of us will say that we are really just writing for ourselves and it doesn’t matter if nobody else reads what we’ve written or what they think of it, but if you are writing a blog that is an obvious lie, some misplaced idea of modesty. We aren’t writing in a diary that we will lock up and place carefully under our mattress, nor are we just tapping out our thoughts or tales on the computer to store in a folder until some later date. We are throwing our words out into the ether where I, for one, know I am hoping someone will read them, like them and maybe even respond. So no, I think it matters to most writers that they are being read and I think it also matters that for the most part people like what they have written. This is not the same as having everyone agree with what is said. This is part conversation and some disagreement will always occur in conversation. It’s part of the fun I think. At least if properly considered and thought out.
I love Fay Weldon’s advice that writers should consult readers, not writers. I try to keep it in mind whenever I write. As a writer I know I am terrible for wanting to rewrite things for people. Granted, that’s often what people come to me for, to polish up or edit some letter or presentation, but that’s very different to this creative writing. What does surprise me is how personally I take a reader’s criticism or advice, especially as it is almost always something I have already been thinking. I guess it’s like being caught at cheating, I put something forward without finishing it properly and it was noticed. Naughty girl. You’re not so clever as you thought.
I guess, in the end it feels easier when something is important to you to pretend that it doesn’t matter what people think, that I don’t care if I am read or not or if people like my work, but really there’s no point at putting this time into something if it’s just for me. No, it matters and I admit it here in front of all you other writers. I write this in hopes it is being read and that people like it.
So here’s hoping that I and you, and all like us foolish and conceited enough to put our words out there are being thoughtfully read and enjoyed.
P.S. Thanks to
rubyarmour.wordpress.com for providing the jump-off point for the initial comment and my later thoughts.