On Writing: for me

ON WRITING for me

My writing goal for this month is to not have a goal. But, having freed myself from goals I have found myself thinking about what, and why, I’m writing. A lot.

In February I took a huge step back.

I wrote very little, but what I did write, I enjoyed writing.

For the first time in months I wrote my posts for The Prompt ahead of time. Not on a Thursday evening with my head in my hands.

Even better, I loved writing each post. It was fun. It reminded me why I started The Prompt in the first place.

I also planned March. Spending time on my editorial calendar, moving things around, getting some shape to the month. Even writing and scheduling several posts and starting a new feature!

The first week of March has seen me back to publishing a post every day, but has not seen the stress that used to cause. I have written, enjoyed, published and sat back.

I have stayed away from linkys.

For the most part anyway :) I have joined in with my favourites again, and this has been a pleasure rather than the chore it had become.

I commented in my Simplify update last week that I have been feeling that the blog, and by extension my writing, lacked direction. Lacked focus.

Most importantly, lacked usefulness. Why would anyone read what I’m writing. What’s in it for them?

But, I accepted that I needed to take a step away from that question, as it’s tying me in knots.

I did a great course towards the end of last year on writing engaging content, and getting people to stick around on your blog. It all made a lot of sense, and I aspire to write content that has people wanting more, reading more, coming back.

But.

And it’s a big but. It stopped me from writing for myself. Which started to take the pleasure out of it.

I’d be lying if I said that I just want to blog for myself. Of course I want people to read. But, by trying to write only for an imagined audience, I had lost myself.

I still believe that I need to find my direction. It’s in my nature to have a focus and a reason, and I’m working on that.

For the time being though, I am going to write the posts that I’ve wanted to write, all those posts where I thought: what’s the lesson, what’s the use, what am I saying, is it pinnable?

All the ones that have been sitting on the back burner while I wrestled with my purpose!

I’m going to write for me again.

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20 thoughts on “On Writing: for me”

  1. Best of luck with it my lovely. I can really relate to what you’ve said here. After my first viral post in October I wrote a few posts for that imagined audience, feeling they were a dead cert and would go viral again. Oh the disappointment when they didn’t. Then the double whammy of making me feel like a total fraud and really crap about myself. I resolved around Xmas time that it would not be happening again, and am pleased to say that it hasn’t :)

  2. That sounds perfect. I think it’s so important to step off the hamster wheel for a moment occasionally and reassess why we write. Ditch the tasks that have become chores, refocus on what makes us happy and go for it. I’ce taken a step back from certain activities and types of post since the turn of the year which have undoubtedly affected my traffic for the worse, and despite a mjaor wobble a couple of weeks ago as a result it’s reminded me why I write – for me and as an outlet for exploring my own creativity, not for numbers or rankings.

  3. I struggle with this too, Sara! At the moment I’m stuck in this place of having mostly friends and family reading my blog, but wanting to grow an audience of fellow writers and creatives. So do I write posts for that hoped for audience, or do I write posts that my friends and family (mostly non-creatives) will enjoy? In the end I find that the posts that come from the heart are the most well-received. I think bloggers often have this tension between growing their audience, the thrill of having more people read your words, and staying true to ourselves. Finding how to do both is the sweet spot!

  4. Sounds as if you’ve been looking over my shoulder. I too find myself too busy to write for myself. But I’m trying to get back to writing what I love. Good luck to us both.

  5. Yes! As usual I couldn’t agree more :) I’ve really taken a step back from linkies over the past few months (though I do miss the prompt), and am trying to be quite disciplined with my blog in terms of only writing what feels important to me. Of course it’s nice if people read it, but I need to keep remembering that I’m not in this to make my blog a commercial success but to develop my skills and integrity as a writer. I’m pretty sure finding that integrity is the only real way to attract a meaningful readership anyway… And I guess it’s by writing what we want that we’ll find out what sort of writers we really are! xx

  6. I can totally relate. I started blogging again after an 8 year break, last year and was reading all this advice about how to engage an audience and write meaningful content. But I felt I was struggling to find my voice and actual enjoy writing. And at the end of the day, life is already full enough of things we have to do, blogging ought to be something fun.

  7. I think writing for yourself is a very good idea. It’s a funny thing, blogging, isn’t it? You want to write things that are meaningful to you and hopefully make connections that way, but it’s so easy to start looking at stats and getting drawn into writing for other people which can really suck the joy out of it. I’m wondering about the direction of my blog too at the moment so it was particularly interesting to read this post. I love the look of your new feature too! Thanks for linking to #whatimwriting

  8. I love your blog, and find it really useful. I seem to come back here more than anywhere else at the moment. You provide me with inspiration all the time, and I am so very grateful (even if I do find myself crying when I’m writing poetry you’ve inspired).

    Thank you. I’ve got one for Confusion, which I am tweaking right now.

  9. Oh goodness, I really understand this. After starting my blog last year, I wanted to start growing it this year beyond my extremely small readership. But the consequence of trying to write specifically to please an audience, has left me so far this year feeling that some of what I am writing is not quite me. I almost got to the point of saying I wasn’t going to blog anymore and that is crazy as I love it when its right. You have confirmed to me what I need to do. xx

  10. I try really hard to write for myself and to not become too consumed with writing for PRs or others. It’s hard but I have to say, if you keep in mind that your readers probably started following for the real “you” you can still do it. Good luck lovely H x

  11. Great idea. It’s easy to lose focus if you feel you’re constantly trying to keep up with linkies and other blogs. It sounds like you are on the way to getting the balance you need.

  12. I love links for what they are, but I also decide to stop using them because I put pressure on myself to make sure they were in on time rather than make sure the content was something I was proud of. I have also decided to not fear updating my blog unless I have something I want to write about. It’s been so liberating x

  13. I think that is what makes blogging unique as a niche, people start a blog because they need to find their voice or take things off their chests. As as audience starts to grow, the temptation is always to slip into a habit of writing for it but I do not think this is the right perspective. As bloggers, we need to stay true to what made us start and to our own selves. The audience will understand.xx

  14. Sometimes it is so easy to just drift along or to loose your mojo, taking a step back is a great idea and I am glad you found yours now! I love feeling organised!!

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