Writing and Reading

Why can’t I instill the same enthusiastic wonder in my writing about vacation destinations, as I did when the locations were part of a longer journey?  I have given it some thought, and I think it comes down to questions of theme and audience.  Put less literarily: Why do I keep writing this blog at all?

Addressing the audience first: I started composing this for my friends and family, but most original readers stopped visiting when I suspended my writing for nearly a year.  Then, with frequent posts on what I hoped were interesting subjects, and following the recommendations for increasing readership, I found myself with a whole new cadre of followers, mostly strangers.  It was exciting – getting dozens of views per day, trying to beat my records, getting creative to keep all those folks entertained!  But eventually I got busy with other things and the writing fell by the wayside, my followers dropped away and I no longer popped up in search engines (how does that even work, anyway?).  So when I posted occasionally about my small-time adventures, I only got a few visitors, and they didn’t engage with the site.  All of this begs the question: For whom am I writing this, and why?  Is it for readers, or for myself?

Yes, writing about my experiences helps me to process them.  Knowing that I will write about a place or event helps me to look deeper than I might have otherwise.  I enjoy developing the natural and historical facts of a place through my own experiences there.  It is a creative outlet, both the writing and the photography.  Sometimes I consider whether I should try to write professionally after all, and putting words down a few times a week is a good way to stay in shape.

Obviously, though, it isn’t just a writing exercise, or I would be doing it in a journal.  Part of me likes knowing that others are looking at it.  The infrequent positive feedback is always wonderful to see!  The reader-getting-game is entertaining when it pays off, and having ten or more visits a day does make me feel like I’m actually part of the larger world.  It is gratifying to know that I do have regular followers who enjoy what I have to say, just as there are those writers whose work I follow with interest.  However, I wouldn’t say that I have enough readers to have a “readership.” Which brings me to the conclusion that even the part of my writing that is “for my readers” is really for myself.  The egotistical, attention-getting, praise-seeking part of myself? Or at best, it is because I write better when I consider the interests and opinions of my readers.  This realization isn’t helping to renew the excitement that I used to find in my writing.

And yet… having them there, having you there is what puts that enthusiasm into my narrative.  I have heard from some who have been excited and inspired by my account of a place or an adventure.  Others may stumble on my words while research a location or journey of their own, which is equally rewarding.

So, O Dear Reader, help me out here!  Why did you happen to read this today?  What are your interests, and will you visit again?  Just this once, leave a comment and let me know.  You could make the difference in whether I continue or not.

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