Writing For Me, Writing For Others

From the pages of a journal:

My husband lent me a tiny hardcover journal, which I packed and brought to the Dominican Republic. I’ve spent bits of time this week on our holiday scribbling notes: a post draft, questions about our new project, failed attempts at poetry. I used to write in a journal on a regular basis; I started in middle school and kept one until I was about 28.

I wrote each day, and as I got older, the entries were sporadic, inspired by my relationships at the time. Sometimes, when I clean or rummage, I’ll find this collection of journals and thumb through some pages. I used to think reading past entries was cathartic — now, it’s just embarrassing.

But I sense in my reading what’s been lost: fluidity. I could handwrite for hours, thoughts pouring out. No fear, no judgment, no thinking — in which thought and pen movement were one. I compare that flow to my note-taking today — these pages I’m writing in now — there are strikeouts, arrows, edits, symbols for paragraph breaks, and even marks where I plan to insert a link, knowing that these words will move online, from page to screen, for others to see.

In a way, this automatic self-correction as I handwrite reminds me of how my photography process has changed — how I often perceive our world as potential snapshots and documented moments — and how I think in tweets and byte-sized chunks.

I just thought of the best tweet, I said to my husband the other day, as we walked the streets of Santo Domingo.

How raw and honest can the writing in this journal be, then, when I’m already editing for public consumption? If I’m always looking outward, and now view writing and publishing as the same thing?

Dominican Republic, January 2014.

* * *

In his post about the intrinsic value of blogging, Matt Mullenweg says blogging is harder than it used to be — today, on an internet of randomness and amid a sea of avatars, we pay more attention to stats and traffic: Counting our Likes. Watching our retweets. Hoping for that viral hit.

When I write with the intent to publish, when I write with the internet in mind — which is really all the time — the process is something else entirely. Something so different from the years I used to write in my journal, where I cleared the cobwebs and allowed my thoughts to stir in the same private space, over and over. I’m much too slow to be part of the day’s internet chatter. More reflective than reactive, I find that once I’ve formulated a response to a Big Idea, everyone else has moved on.

It’s already hard to write, period. To write for others is harder.

And so Matt suggests very simple, practical, yet wonderful advice: write for two people. Write for yourself, and for one other person you have in mind, as if writing them a letter.

. . . when I get caught up in that the randomness of what becomes popular or generates commentary and what doesn’t it invariably leads me to write less. So blog just for two people.

I’ve been given this advice before, but I often forget. But it might be a way to stay true to yourself — whatever that means — but also stay focused and incisive.

Bringing that small journal on my holiday was a good step: I’ve managed to publish three posts in less than a month from the seemingly incoherent scribbles of those pages. Whether pen or keyboard, I’m writing. 

Perhaps that’s all that matters.

79 Comments

  1. I love this! I’ve been writing regularly for a few years now (I’m 15), and when I revisit the pages of my diary, I find plenty of content that could be turned into blog posts or short stories. More than that, I learn a lot about myself too. And longhand writing is the best part. We got a computer when I was 8 and I still hate the keyboard. I wish there was some brilliant technology that could type all handwritten words into the computer. Unfortunately, there is no such thing.

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  2. This is so true,many of us struggle with.Writing online is really challenging. Thankyou so much for sharing,
    especially, as I am new to the world of blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully written. A real talent

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    1. This post had some very helpful advice especially since I’m a newbie blogger.

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  4. Beautifully written…and spot on. “…where I cleared the cobwebs and allowed my thoughts to stir” reminds me of those Morning Pages I used to do so diligently, before the demands of daily life (and the relentless pull of my bicycle!) snapped the habit and flung me back into…well, back into the cobwebs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cheri I just love your blog. I’m finding you an inspiration, (and a tiny bit daunting) as I’m just starting out blogging. I too write as a way of processing and reflecting on experience, and as a way of sharing that experience so I love this piece. I feel like I’ve been writing for two for years 🙂 When I travel I used to write email journals back to friends, family, anyone who’d read and risk immersing themselves in my reality for a while: writing for them was a way of writing for me. My Reader was borrowed from Graham Greene in a flip of Travels with my Aunt, I imagined writing letters from me as a travelling aunt to my nieces. Crafting the sentences became a way of extruding the experience, giving it birth, drawing its meaning from my soul, nurturing it into something tangible with a life of its own.
    The aim of my blog is to open the world to my thought-children, to let them out of the safety of my friends and family and let them experience the world. And in the process I get the honour of taking a larger group with me when I’m wandering around India and beyond, or just reflecting on parallel truths, thinking thoughts that take me to new places new beginnings.
    I would love to invite you and your readers to visit my blog, as I said it’s just starting and haven’t even worked out all the theme-widget-appearance options yet, but I have big plans and bigger ideas.
    Thanks for the inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind comment and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing process here.

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  6. “More reflective than reactive, I find that once I’ve formulated a response to a Big Idea, everyone else has moved on.”

    I resonate with this so much. I’m an active consumer of current events and viral blog postings, and yet I take just a few hours/days/weeks too long (evident by my response to this post you wrote months ago) to be able to be successful with my response.

    It’s hard to use my blog for me and for the public I’ve always hoped would want to read my words. After having a blog for two whole years and still having a tiny frequent audience (think 5 people probably read my blog consistently, and 10-15 occasional readers), I’ve finally just settled into writing for myself. It’s disappointing and rewarding all at once. It’s my own thoughts. It’s my own feelings. The public obviously doesn’t love them, but I feel true to myself?

    Blogging is hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I so resonate with this! Thanks for the ‘like’ on my recent post on the subject. So easy to get hooked on the feedback, when at heart what a writer wants is to tell a story from within themselves (at least that’s what it feels like for me). Stay true, stay polished 🙂 Thanks for your honest post.

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  8. Thank you for sharing. It has been difficult for me to hit “Publish,” but I am glad I did. I have been too freaked out about the judgement I would recieve from my friends about writing about something so 1st world, like spa services, that it has paralyzed me. I just had to get over it. I will try to think about just myself and one other person in my writing. I think this will help! 🙂

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  9. Hi Cheri,
    It’s interesting to see how much bloggers have in common! Writing online is really challenging but maybe if it wasn’t online maybe we would be writing less or writing just for ourselves and that would consequently mean that we don’t review, edit and improve what we write.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You pose some interesting questions…When I write in my blog I’m not sure…I think it’s a mixture of writing for myself, for what people expect from me, writing based on feedback I’ve received, remembering particular posts that people enjoyed. All of this is flickering through my sub conscience. There’s an element of wanting to please. They’re your friends, after all. It’s like being the host of a party. 🙂
    But when I write fiction, what people might think should be the more commercial writing of the two because books need to sell, I write instead totally from instinct. That seems to be when I truly write for myself.

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  11. This is so true of so many of us. I still write more for myself as I don’t have a large audience, but I don’t want to lose that vulnerability that can lie within the pages of a notebook. Perhaps some of the prompts leave me less real, but what I do on my own is all from the heart. I hope it stays that way.
    This post of yours is raw and from the heart. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello Cheri,
    Just came across your blog and glance through what you have written. I found the words are honestly expressed in simple but beautiful English. I feel that you love writing, just for the sake of expressing your perspective in life. I felt very relaxing and I really like it.

    Thank You.

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  13. Hello Cheri, an interesting post. Would you consider that when you write immediately on what you’re thinking, feeling, imperfections and all is when you’re at your most honest? I think when you put your ideas in a clean and concise way that doesn’t take away from the honesty of what you’re writing. In fact, in my opinion, that would give you more time to reflect on what you want to say and not, perhaps, but something down to quickly that may or may not represent you accuratley. Again, just my thoughts on the matter.

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  14. I think this is a problem many of us struggle with – especially anyone old enough to have known journal (or diary) writing when they were young. I don’t often look in those old journals of mine, but when I do I am amazed at how much I managed to squeeze into each entry, how un-selfconscious I was, speaking my mind and heart with no censor standing over me.

    I think that is why I post in here so seldom. the idea of writing for a public reader throws me off and leaves me feeling out of touch with the one person I really want to talk to – myself.

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  15. Since I started my blog I try to avoid the pressure of the fact that many people can read it and what they would think about it. Somehow I choose to write as it was a diary and I have only one person in mind when I post. Thank you for wording this method in this post, I am happy to know that this is a valid way to write a blog. In most of the “how to” articles people suggest that we should think about our readers. I think that would be too much for me to handle. 🙂

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  16. I’m so glad I stumbled across this blog. Wonderful work.

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  17. Ah, the danger of blogging for others… I, too, always get caught up with that thought of having Likes and Comments before i even type the first word of my post. Thank you for writing this. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. 🙂

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  18. Like the honesty of your posts. Journaling serves its purpose and as we get older our needs change and so does our need to journal.

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  19. I know I am late on this post. Great writing and great topic. I write for my self or one person. I never worry about what people will think until I actually post it. I have come up with a solution. First I stress, take three deep breathes, cringe and then hit the “post” button before I change my mind.

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  20. Hi Cheri,

    “Write for two people,” one of the best advise I’ve ever got. I’m so glad to know that I’m the only one who forgets important writing advise. I read that before in Stephen King’s book “On Writing” which I highly recommend to any one who writes. He says that a writer should have an ideal reader who he want’s to please with his work.

    Thanks for reinstating this wisdom. I’ve just opened a blog and am struggling with my first post. Reminding me of how to write is a great help!

    I also keep a physical journal and yes, reading past entries is often embarrassing, but I’m still too young not to find that it is also cathartic.

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    1. I just moved out of my house and got rid of a ton of books, but I kept “On Writing” — I’d never finished it! Thanks for the reminder; I’ll take it out of the box to finish it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m finding its increasingly hard to find a balance between my ‘writing career’ and my writing. Everyone starts with just the love of writing. But soon, the over analyzing and analytical side of things starts to take over. The edits and the worrying about being politically and grammatically correct are in the forefront of our minds. We lose a piece of our writing style when this happens. Its a good idea to keep in perspective, just write. Find the enjoyment of it again. When my ‘writing career’ side seems to overwhelm me, I take a mini writing retreat with one of my writing buddies. We sit in a cafe the whole day and just write and see where we end up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It is hard to render complete honesty when writing for others – you want to be able to connect but the idea of tailoring and editing to present your work in the best light sometimes leaves you feeling somewhat disingenuous. I love writing and enjoy writing to be read but I do at times struggle between style and content – is my style appropriate for the content or vica versa.

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  23. justrecently

    Write for yourself, and for one other person you have in mind, as if writing them a letter.

    Step two: re-read what you have written. Is it something you want the public to read?

    Different people will feel differently about this, I guess, but to me, a letter isn’t something that can be found and read by a google search.

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  24. I always tell people “write to please you”. The rest of the world is too big to please but there are times when I become obsessed with my stats trying to determine how and when to please my audience. I like this advice and it’s a good barometer to have when you lose track of your purpose. But honestly my ego is such that I believe people will be interested, charmed and amused by what I write if they would only just read it.

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    1. “Write to please you”, I love this 🙂 It’s actually so true, thank you for sharing!

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  25. Cheri,
    I can totally relate…I am also more “reflective than reactive.” I also have a dashboard with never-published posts. I WORK at not caring about whether my post “hits” or not…just writing because I have something to say (although recently I have been using the Daily Prompts because after 4 years it has become harder to come up with posts). I like Matt’s advice…I’ll have to try that out.

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  26. Ah. I really needed to hear this. Thanks for writing it to me. I was the 2nd person you mentioned, right?!? 😉

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  27. I’ve really learned that I had to let go of all ambition with regard to the blog. I don’t know how much it affected writing or choice of photos, but it sure was stressing me out. My focus has become more and more on stillness, letting stillness and intuition choose both the words and the pictures, letting the story arise, from the void, and as you said to me, for the void. That’s when it’s truest. I’m better at it some times than others, but the more *I* get out of the way (*I* with my thoughts of readers) the better it flows. I try really hard to not think about the intent to publish. And as I’m writing this I realize I really really needed this reminder! Thank you.

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  28. I love this post. Really it’s so difficult sometimes to keep in mind that we write from an innate urge to say things that need to be said. When I’m struck by a thought in the middle of the night, or in the car, or in line at the store, the thought is NEVER accompanied by the thought “this will bring a lot of traffic!” Rather, it is ALWAYS accompanied by “I need to know more about that!” The wellspring of ideas from my head and heart doesn’t come with strings attached, yet by the time I sit down to put pen to paper (figuratively or literally), some sort of ulterior motive has usually accreted to what’s pure. It’s hard to accept and hard to work around, but I try to tell myself as long as I’m writing, I can think about motives later. Or, you know, not. 🙂

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  29. Hey Cheri, your post is very eye opening to me. Thank you so much! I posted my first post just few days ago. Now that I read your post, it really helped me to realize the difference between writing a blog (focus on yourself) and a speech (focus on others). Not realizing this, I obviously was preparing for a speech 😀

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  30. Personally I like the idea of writing for an audience. Even if the audience is just me, I like to rework the words in my head, to get them just right.

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  31. Thank you, such a great post about writing. Inspiration for a new blogger like myself.

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  32. I started my blog as a “personal” blog – and it has gone in a completely opposite direction. Thank you Cheri (and Matt Mullenweg) for the idea of writing for two people. I think it actually might push out that raw voice we all have inside, the one we reserve for our dearest friends, when we share our secrets and our hearts.

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  33. Your last sentence was key. Thank you for writing this. I’m following you on bloglovin now. I also love the dr!

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  34. I keep a personal journal separate from my blog. They feed into one another. The journal usually just ends up as base documentation of what I did during the day, and the blog finds the most interesting moments and turns them into a narrative.

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  35. giselacarmona

    I can definitely relate to your post… thank you for it! I have been writing my whole life and ever since I decided to write a blog ended up writing less precisely because I keep thinking about all the other things that shouldn’t really matter… Reading your post gave a new perspective to my blog writing. Thank you Cheri!

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  36. I hadn’t read this post until today (still in my unread folder) and had to smile in recognition. I am a relatively new blogger and just this Monday I wrote a post called Writing for One Person where I decided that I am just going to write for my best friend and forget everything else because it is too distracting and makes one so self conscious. It detracts from the joy of writing. Glad I am not the only one who feels this.

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  37. Wow, there’s a lot to chew on here. I’ve got a future post still shaping up in my head, something about how the internet is slowly siphoning away our creativity, and it would seem to dovetail with this post. I think we’ve all had the experience of “waking up at the keyboard,” like from a fugue state, and finding that we’ve written a few hundred sublime words. It’s the writing experience I strive for, personally. I love that trance, and it is more difficult to achieve with public consumption predetermined. It does strike me, however, that hundreds of novelists write for audiences in the tens or hundreds of thousands, knowingly so, and still manage to crank out fine work. I think at some point you just have to be confident that you’re good enough, dammit.

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  38. I stumbled upon your blog and love that you just write about so many things. I just started writing as a way of getting clarity and perspective on life, career and anything else that comes up and had this grandiose idea of turning it into a portfolio as well. But I like that you write about so many things and I think I’ll just keep my blog open ended and worry about the portfolio at another time.

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  39. I keep a journal too…well, three actually. Two are comprised of letters to my kids, one for my son, one for my daughter. The third is for me.

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  40. Nice…just keep on writing, Cheri.

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  41. Anonymous

    Feelings shared by so many bloggers…and put in such a beautiful manner. It is no mean feat in today’s world to get people to ‘like’ what you write. Kudos.

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  42. That’s exactly all that matters! Generally I find I handwrite for me, and type for others. My journals, brainstorms, planning notebooks are all stream of consciousness scribbles with no thought to sentence construction – or even grammar or spelling half the time! Somehow the act of typing – conversely maybe, as it’s faster – has become the more considered, deliberate writing of blogs and prose and scripts. Whatever works, I guess!

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  43. This was beautiful! I found it applied directly to the way I look at life in general and my desire for travel and adventure. Shallow interactions over the internet have become such an ingrained part of my life that I now look at a potential situation and analyze it by how much I can share it with my friends. I need to bring things back to what I enjoy, what I love, and what those directly closest to me, who I converse with on personal levels, would love.

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    1. These are great observations. Like you I used to keep a journal but I went through phases with them, sometimes writing daily and filling up a new journal at least monthly (depending on the size of it) and then others I would start and not create a new entry until several months later. It’s been some years since I’ve REALLY kept a journal. I’ve even tried having a notebook for “writing ideas” and another one for personal journaling. Eventually I have one and not the other and just need to get what’s in my head out; of course it’ll be a story idea knocking at my door when I have the personal journal. It does seem to be difficult to JUST WRITE. I’ve come to see writing a lot differently too. Trying to be more active online in general and keep a blog definitely affects the way I approach my writing. It seems there’s little time for personal writing when there’s poetry, stories, blogging, discussion forums and more to worry about.

      I also have to second your comment on photography. For the first time I’m doing a Project 365 and it is definitely changing the way I see things and my photography as a whole. Like you are saying, the things, the life, the people, the moments surrounding me can quickly turn into subjects and possible projects

      That’s interesting advice, can’t say I’ve heard that: write for two people. The trick then becomes who’s that other person? Answering that I would think provides quite a bit of direction. I’ll have to give this tip a try, thanks so much for sharing.

      Good luck with all your writing and making it work for you…and the other person. Safe travels, beautiful picture by the way.

      Cheers,
      eLPy

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      1. “Like you are saying, the things, the life, the people, the moments surrounding me can quickly turn into subjects and possible projects.”

        Indeed. We’ve got a bad case of Facebook Eye.

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  44. “I’m much too slow to be part of the day’s internet chatter. More reflective than reactive, I find that once I’ve formulated a response to a Big Idea, everyone else has moved on.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always wanted to be some sort of writer, but my horrible grammar skills and thoughts of what my “audience” may judge me on makes me write less or not at all. I think your advice of writing for you and one other will greatly help me with my blogging.

    Great post! Great advice!

    Happy blogging!

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    1. I find I write differently in a handwritten journal than I do on the computer. I really get into following the flow of the ink on nice paper. I may recognize an idea I want to develop later, but I find it’s better to let the thoughts flow, unimpeded, like the ink.
      You have a really lovely site.

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      1. I agree! And thank you for the compliment!

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  45. Thank you! This was very helpful.

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  46. Ever since I was a kid (and that’s a long time) I have loved performance. I love the response that comes with sharing whatever you do with an audience. There is one friend that always comments on my posts, and I find myself writing for him. After I have published my current post, I can hardly wait to see what Wayne has to say about it. My problem at this juncture is that I want a bigger and bigger audience. I want more than one comment. I want more than 25 followers. Every morning I check my stats to see how many views I got yesterday. Every morning I open the Freshly Pressed area to see if my post has been selected. I am a hopeless junky for attention and approval.

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  47. Wow that was a great post. I always have the trouble with writing posts for other people. I’ve started to just write for myself and it has helped a little but writing for two people. I never would of thought about that!

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  48. “How raw and honest can the writing in this journal be, then, when I’m already editing for public consumption? If I’m always looking outward, and now view writing and publishing as the same thing?”

    That hit me right in the heart.

    And this post is just like a mirror, reflecting one’s inner-self. I’ll be dealing with this quote of yours in my mind, probably the whole week.

    It’s a pleasure following your thoughts 🙂

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    1. Thanks for the kind words.

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  49. I can totally relate with this piece… It’s deeper than it seems you know. Quite straight at it and its simplicity is wonderful. Kudos!

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  50. Such a wonderful post. Writing for two people seems not only more doable, but the route to more heart-ful writing, writing that feels like it matters.

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  51. Oh, but Cheri, aren’t you and Mr Mullenweg and the others at WordPress/Automatic encouraging us to blog more in the more is less internet world? Almost daily posts at the Daily Post on the perfect blog title, CSS, zero to hero, how to leverage social media to get more page views, and on and on. To be a good WordPress citizen we should like and comment on others blogs so we get likes and comments in return. Really?

    It’s a fine balance to be true to your self and not think of every creative moment as a potential blog. I’m guilty. Too many times while making photos I’m thinking “is there a blog here”?

    It is a fine balance.

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    1. I agree that it’s a fine balance. I take the tips and suggestions my own team shares on The Daily Post, yes. But not all of them — as I myself recommend, I think about what I want my internet to be. What I want to do here. How I want to present myself. And then I pick and choose the tools that allow me to do that.

      I struggle with the desire to constantly document, mainly with photos (rather than writing on this blog). The tools out there make it so easy, but I’m careful not to go overboard.

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  52. I’m with you! I have also struggled to write in my journal since I started writing a blog. I’m trying to get back into the former, though, because I think journaling can keep you in touch with yourself in a way that writing for a public audience (even just “one other person”) can’t. My journal was always more about content than style – reminding myself, and sometime admitting to myself, my innermost thoughts.

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  53. pharaonick

    Such a short post, so much to unpack! I think your slug summarizes it perfectly, though.

    I think I’d add another question, very much related: Before we think about who we are writing for, we should think about why we are writing in the first place.

    Why are we writing —> Who are we writing for —> Format

    I dunno. I never really started writing until it had already become equated with publishing … and there’s a whole vicious circle of tangle right there.

    Anyway …

    The important thing here, I think, is that you *are* writing, hand-written marks that show where a link should go and all!

    Great musings as always.

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  54. Having never written for myself or for public consumption at all before starting my blog, I didn’t have the habit of handwriting anything, so it only really seems REAL if I compose posts on my phone (or my new tablet).
    I have recently got a bit stuck on writing about blogging, as opposed to blogging about other stuff. But despite the fact that I think people might not necessarily be so keen on posts, I can’t help thinking that they don’t even count as practice if they’re not published on the blog.
    Does that make sense, who knows? But I can’t stop myself from continuing my original plan to climb my learning curve in public.

    What was the phrase the teachers used at school?
    “Always show your workings”

    Love the waterfall picture by the way, gorgeous colours.

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    1. “I can’t help thinking that they don’t even count as practice if they’re not published on the blog.”

      Yeah. I think this sometimes, too, and I shouldn’t. My husband has this issue as well (which he wrote about in the latter parts of this post).

      It’s a challenge. But I need to remind myself that anything I write — even the drafts that sit in this WordPress dashboard — is practice.

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  55. I have several pages in my journal that begin, “Dear Amy,”. Amy and I have been friends for more than 25 years, and when I am stuck in my writing but I have something I want to say, I write a letter to her in my journal. I write to two people – myself and Amy – and the freedom in that loosens the words.

    I am so glad to read about you being reflective instead of reactive, that once you’ve got your response to the Big Idea du jour, the menu board has changed. I have scores of voice memos on my phone – reactions to something I heard on a podcast, or the hullaballoo over the Boston Bomber Rolling Stone cover – vocal recordings that I hurried to record while I was still dripping from the shower (my thinking place). Only one of those recordings has made it onto my blog. They take too long to flesh out.

    The world moves too fast to keep up with, and that is exactly why your blog is a peaceful place: because you don’t try to. I’m so happy you are writing. Sometimes that is all that matters.

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    1. Andrea — I’d thought I replied when I read this. I didn’t! You’ll see that today’s Daily Post focuses on this — “who is your reader?” — and I mention your reply there. Thanks again for the inspiration and fodder 🙂

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  56. This is such an insightful post, which I can relate to a lot. I sometimes find myself feeling like there’s hardly a point writing if I don’t think it will be topical, or popular, etc. It’s quite a defeatist attitude and has definitely contributed to the block and lack of inspiration that I’m currently facing. Your post reminded me that, in this age, it’s a very common dilemma.

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    1. “Is this relevant? Am I relevant?” Questions that swirl in my head, all the time. For topical things — I tend to write about stuff weeks, even months later that people have moved on from. But I try to make it personal and totally relevant to me, and through that, people seem to still want to read what I have to say.

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  57. I loved what you had to say in this post – and I think it’s very helpful for anyone who’s been blogging for a while to stop and think about this. It occurs to me that good writing is like good drawing – you absolutely have to let go of thinking about the end product while you’re actually doing it, and just focus completely on the pure essence of what you’re thinking and trying to say. I think it’s possibly the same with any art form or any creative act – like a dancer or an actor thinking about how their performance looks to the audience instead of being perfectly centered on how they are moving. I think it has to be just you, the intention, the idea, and the words……and it isn’t easy!

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    1. Agree about not thinking about the end product. Funny that that’s how many of us think these days — how moments of our day are now meant for documentation, whether by tweet or status update or photograph or polished blog post.

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  58. Thanks for such a thoughtful post. Your reply to Dorry-Kun sounds like the perfect subject for the Daily Post and it gives me time to think how to respond. Thanks for inspiring us each and every day Cheri.

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    1. Oh, I didn’t even think of that (a post idea for The Daily Post) — good idea. Thanks 🙂

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  59. I loved this post. So frank, honest, simple and yet so complex.

    I think at the heart of your post, you’re dealing with the issue of public vs. private, not necessarily form although that is a dimension of what you’re talking about too. When you’re thinking in bite-sized pieces for consumption, about the number of likes and comments, you’re writing for a public audience. When you were writing in that journal years ago, you were writing for only one–your private self.

    At the same time, form does influence content. Perhaps the generation that’s born now (while the event of their birth is probably being tweeted about) are able to blend thought and those bite sized pieces of tweet-like form subconsciously in their minds so seamlessly that they don’t have to think about it. Perhaps the public display of personal lives is also *such* a way of life now that the public/private divide won’t seem a divide anymore in the way we understood it. But then, perhaps our ancestors who wrote on parchment or produced oral literature would think the same about us producing journal-sized bite-sized pieces for out private pleasure on hard covered books. Who is to say what form is natural? All we can say is this or that comes naturally to *us*.

    Having said that, I’m struck by the fact that you still write on physical journals with pen and paper. Although I grew to adulthood writing on paper, I lost the habit a long time ago and can’t think when using paper rather than a screen where I can edit what I want when I want as I’m writing.

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    1. I don’t always respond to your comments; I was almost going to let this one be. I tend to mull over what you’ve written — you’re always thoughtful and your comments require more, I suppose, than a quick response. Just wanted to say that.

      My writing in physical journals is a newly resurrected thing — my husband and I have a shared Moleskine where we write notes to each other occasionally (or take notes on the wines we taste!). But as for a personal journal, I’ve not written like that, as I did on my holiday trip, in at least a few years. It’s honestly awkward, and I sometimes want to stop because I think, “man, I can go a lot faster and be more efficient on my laptop.” But the way I think and write is just different — it *feels* different — so I’m thinking of doing it every now and then.

      Anything to keep the posts coming, I guess!

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  60. Writing posts like you’re penning a letter to someone is a technique I’ve been using since I started blogging. Back then I was always writing to my girlfriend. Every single published word was aimed at her, because I thought she would be the only one to listen. It really helped me a lot.

    I feel I have grown since then – I no longer write just for her. Nowadays I kind of switch between her and The Reader, an imaginary reader. I have no idea who he is. I just know he is male and reads my literary concoctions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, this idea of The Reader. I’d be curious to hear about other people’s imaginary readers — who/what they picture and why. And if they don’t know who he/she is, how that person formed in their head…

      Liked by 1 person

  61. A thought stirring post Cheri. I, too, have kept journals since childhood, probably equally cringe worthy to yours. I’ve attempted and failed to write a non-fiction book. I enjoyed the process all the while it was lashing my sense of self worth as the publishing process loomed, a process distinctly different from writing itself. Blogging, however, seemed to remedy my doubts and I’ve learned to just focus on the craft of building sentences and paragraphs. Once again, as with my journaling, I am having fun writing without expectations of grand designs.

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    1. Focusing on the craft of building sentences and having fun without expectations of grand designs. Nicely put (and challenging to do!).

      Like

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