Nancy raised a good point in her comments to my last post. I said I worry that I don't have anything interesting to say. She said she has the same feeling but needs to figure out where blogging fits in her life and who she's writing for - herself or her readers.
For me, the answer is that I'm writing for myself AND my readers. If I wanted to write just for myself, I would have a private journal. There would be no reason for a blog. But I write in this public forum because I want an audience. I've always wanted an audience - I used to do musical theater so I could have a live audience. At this point, I'll settle for a virtual one.
That said, the essence of writing is very personal (depending on the topic). "Write what you know" is a cliche for a reason. Even the most empathetic among us can only write from our own perspective and experience. And unless you're writing an instruction manual, your biases and personal views are bound to come out. There are as many opinions as there are people and if we're nervy enough to express our views in public, we have to be thick-skinned enough to hear dissent. Unfortunately, we may also need to be thick-skinned enough to hear personal insults. Not that I'm condoning such behavior but some people simply can't stop themselves from personal attacks when expressing disagreement. I hope I never get to the point where I need to turn comments off like MIM did - the give and take is what I like about this writing format.
I assume the people that stop by this blog think I'm interesting, at least some of the time, otherwise they wouldn't keep reading. And the fact that I have a few regular readers helps keep me motivated to write (when I'm not otherwise engaged in fire fighting in my non-blog life). Ideally, I'd like to have more regular readers. To that end, I'm going to try to write more often and, sometimes, write about potentially controversial topics. My goal isn't controversy for the sake of controversy (although that might get me some short-term readers). My goal is dialogue. In this self-selected world of bloggers, we have a surprising diversity of views. I hope we can learn from each other. Another goal is to get more comments - I know from my hit counter that more people are reading this than are commenting. I want to hear from you, even if you disagree with me. Really. Just don't make comments about my ass or I'll have to go all Tae Kwon Do on yours.
Now that we have that settled, I have a few questions for you:
Why do you blog? How much do you care about the number of readers you have? Have you sparked controversy? If so, how and what happened? What topics would you like to write about or discuss but are afraid to touch on?