Who is this all for? Thoughts on audience and writer’s block.

Although staying on top of Blogging 101 assignments has been in my mind, I keep forgetting to post about them.  So here are some thoughts regarding what’s going through my blogger mind…

Yesterday’s task had me scratching my head a bit: Publish a post you’d like your ideal audience member to read.  Of course, this lead to the question… Who is my ideal audience?  If anyone in the world could read my blog, who would that be?  And how do I appeal to them?

I’ll get to these answers in a bit.  First, a story.

A couple of years ago, I found myself in an Innovative Creative Writing class.  Our textbook was Lance Olsen’s Architectures of Possibility and, throughout the semester, we read a bunch of trippy, postmodern work and strove to break the mold of “traditional” literature.  Our mantra was something along the lines of “Do something new!  Break the mold!  Be innovative!

During that class, I spent a great deal of time thinking about blogging.  For the first time, I wanted to try my hand at writing not for myself, but for others.  I put a great deal of thought and wit into my posts and appealed to my classmates for help.  By the end of the semester, though, I was exhausted.  Left with very little motivation, I genuinely wanted to write.  The problem was every time I sat down to post, I got so bogged down by the pressure of a potential audience that the words completely froze.

Whenever I find myself struggling with writer’s block, I can usually trace it back to this problem.  Even last night when I sat down to follow through with the assignment and write a post for my ideal audience, I couldn’t seem to do it.  I’ve come to the conclusion that, when it comes to writing non-academically, I do my best without constraints.

The following quote says it better than I ever could:

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

If writing novels isn’t your thing, there’s always the WordPress version : Write the blog you want to read.

A few years ago, I spent a semester at a university in London.  Before I departed, I noticed that everyone I knew who studied abroad made travel blogs, but always let them fall by the wayside after a handful of posts.  This frustrated me!  I wanted details about adventures–history, fun stories, photos, etc.  So, when I created In the Bellow and the Uproar during my own travels, I stuck with it–creating the travel blog I had always wanted.  (The funny thing about this was that, although in my eyes I had created perfection, none of my friends actually bothered to read it.)

Here on Keep Your Feet, I want to write a blog that I want to read.  I want to create posts that I come back to.  In a way, I suppose my ideal audience is myself.  Gosh, is that pretentious?  I hope not!!  I really don’t want to come off as snobbish in any way.  I just know that when I strive to create for others, my abilities peeter out.

In the end, I’d rather write for myself and create decent content than write for others and not create at all.  If my content your fancy, that’s awesome!

Am I the only one who struggles with the idea of writing for an audience?  Let me know in the comments!  Fellow Blogging 101 classmates, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

9 thoughts on “Who is this all for? Thoughts on audience and writer’s block.

  1. gingeralicia88 June 11, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    I struggled tremendously and I know exactly what you mean about your ideal audience being yourself. I actually think that’s probably the way the best writers write. It’s like how you need to love yourself so other people can love you too, right? 🙂 Sounds legit to me anyway. If you love what you wrote there are bound to be others who do. I enjoyed reading this for one 😉

    • Amelia June 11, 2015 / 7:23 pm

      I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one who found this assignment a challenge! I totally agree with you–if you love yourself, others will love you… and if you love what you write, others will love it too. I hope to someday be able to focus more on audience, but for the time being, this suits me just fine. 🙂 Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  2. Amanda Livingston June 11, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    Hi Amelia!
    You’re definitely not the only one who’s struggled with writing for an audience. But I’m kind of the opposite in you in that a lot of the time when I’m blogging, I want to write really personal things so that I can remember them and how I felt about them in that specific time/moment. I think that I think of myself more than other people who could be reading what I’m writing.
    I also wanted to say that I love that you want to write a blog that you want to read. I think that’s a great goal, and also will attract the type of readers that are similar to you and have similar interests, as well as motivate you to keep blogging. xx

    • Amelia June 11, 2015 / 7:26 pm

      Thanks so much, Amanda! I’m really glad that I’m not alone with struggling with this. I really admire your desire to write about personal things! Those are some of the most enjoyable posts to read, ’cause you know they’re heartfelt. 🙂

  3. brittabottle June 11, 2015 / 10:33 pm

    First of all, love your new theme! Looks great and your cover photo is PERFECT.

    I totally understand what you mean, though, Amelia, It’s not pretentious at all to be your own ideal audience. I thought the same thing when I responded to this prompt for the January Blogging 101–that saying I was my ideal reader was really stuck up. But, if you are constantly trying to please others with your writing, your’re never going to feel fulfilled as a writer–and isn’t that what we writers strive for–fulfillment in our work? Of course, that’s not always easy to keep in mind in the blogosphere with so many amazingly successful blogs around. There is a drive to do as well as those blogs, to get more readers. I don’t know, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d rather be totally satisfied with my work and have a handful of people read it than spit out a bunch of posts I’m not proud of simply for the views. If a post does well, that’s great. If not…well, worse things have happened in life. 🙂

    It’s tricky business, though!

    • Amelia June 12, 2015 / 7:20 pm

      Thanks for the wonderful comment, Britta!! I’m super pumped about the new theme. And I’m so glad to know I’m not the only blogger who thinks about audience, quality, etc. The quality vs. popularity line is sometimes hard to differentiate. Every time I accidentally cross to the popularity side, I find myself completely dissatisfied with anything I write. The fact that you had these exact same thoughts when you took the class is definitely encouraging.

      • brittabottle June 14, 2015 / 10:22 pm

        Glad I could be encouraging. 🙂 It can be so hard to differentiate between writing for an audience and writing for popularity’s sake. I know I have an audience now, even if it is a small one, so I have to keep that in mind with my posts. Yet, my posts also have to seem natural to me. They have to speak from me and not from someplace that is just screaming for more readers. I definitely find myself becoming disatissified, too, if I cross the popularity line. It’s so tricky, which can be annoying at times…but it’s also one of the challenges of blogging that keeps me coming back. 🙂

  4. Doreen E. Lepore June 18, 2015 / 6:10 pm

    Totally agree with you. Personally, I can’t pinpoint my audience yet, but hope my blog will become more focused in the future.

    • Amelia June 19, 2015 / 4:38 pm

      Audience is definitely a tough thing! It depends on what kind of blog you’ve got as well–if it’s a themed one, such as travel or poetry or something, audience isn’t as difficult. Personal blogs, though, are harder to pinpoint. I definitely think focus comes with time–we’ll get there!

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