Blogging for nobody

Retro image of a journalist using a typewriter

I have been thinking about what blogging means for me over the last few weeks and am returning right back to the very basics, the underlying motivations behind my writing. Why write? Why put what I’ve written on the internet for all to see?

Over the last three years I have learned a lot about the technical aspects and etiquette’ of writing a blog, discovering that overwhelmingly the goal of most writers is to gain more readers. The reasons why folks desire more visitors to their website vary, some want their art to be seen and noticed, others want to earn more money, some are seeking notoriety. Yet, more visitors is the goal, the measure of success, regardless of what specifically motivates the ambition.

When I first began writing blogging I would eagerly check visitor stats every day, wanting some sort of verification that somebody was reading my words. Gradually this need for validation decreased and cynicism overtook it — many visitors were landing on my posts in search of images or keywords which were not actually the point of what I had written. Then there are the numerous hits from spammy places such as Nigeria which don’t really count.

What I have discovered is that I really do enjoy writing. Putting it on the web for others to read helps me to write better and analyze what I say to ensure it does actually make sense to someone other than me. So this at least covers these two aspects — I enjoy the writing so am motivated to continue, and publishing it as blog posts makes me a better writer which in itself is a personal goal. While it is nice to have people read my posts, at this fundamental level I have reasons to blog regardless of who those readers might be.

Apparently even some of the more prominent bloggers have a similar viewpoint:

If someone were registering a blog for the very first time today, what advice would you give him/her?

I would tell him that he should blog first and foremost for his own benefit. I don’t mean for that to sound selfish! Here’s the thing: blogging can be a great joy if you are content to keep writing regardless of whether anyone else reads along. When you can do this, you can avoid being driven by the numbers of visitors and you can avoid the allure of writing very pragmatically, choosing what you write about only because you think it will generate buzz. If you can be content with blogging for an audience of one, you will find much more contentment in blogging for an audience of one hundred or one million. (4 Questions With Tim Challies by Mike Leake)

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