Who are you writing for? Yourself or others?
It is important to know the difference because the process and rewards vary significantly.
The act of writing and publishing regularly can have a transformative effect on your life by pushing you to bring the discipline of writing and sharing every day. You become accountable to yourself, think more clearly, reflect more often and synthesize what you learn.
When you write for yourself, the process takes a lot less time. Since you are writing primarily to clarify our thinking. You don’t need to worry about polishing or distributing your content. You just start a blog in a small corner of the web and get on with writing. As part of the thinking process, you focus entirely on optimizing your learning versus trying to figure out what your audience would be interested in.
So, you focus on iterative learning by writing, to think and to improve how you think over time. As a result, you get to treat everything you write as a hypothesis and don’t worry about the consequences of being wrong.
In comparison when you are writing for others you are basically solving some problem, educating or entertaining your readers.
When you write on your favorite social network you have to be careful what we are writing, how your audience will take it, what reaction you will get and how will you handle any unintentional harm caused by your writing. Then you need to carve out time to respond to readers’ queries, objections, and alternate views.
Like all decisions, this choice has accompanying consequences. The consequence of writing for yourself is that the rewards are almost entirely intrinsic. You might earn yourself a few subscribers over time – but, your subscriber count, follower count, website visit count, monetization (if any), fame, etc., will likely never be anywhere as good as someone who focuses on writing for others.
If you started out writing for others, expect less intrinsic benefit.
Like many things in life, I find that this misalignment between expectations of process and outcome drives most folks to quit after writing publicly after a couple of months. While they might have set out to write for themselves, there often are unsaid expectations about building a massive subscriber base – or vice versa. The end result is a disappointment.
So, if writing publicly is on your goal, you need to take time to clarify the purpose and your expectations on process and outcomes.
I am primarily writing for myself. My long term goal is to get better at writing and get over the fear of publishing something with my name on it. Life is too short to listen to my inner critic. I want to build the courage to get my writing out there regularly whether they are unpolished or need proofreading. If I could keep the discipline, I am sure I will get better.
While I can’t say much about writing for others, I can say with reasonable confidence that the long term benefits of writing for yourself are extraordinary.
Now I guess the question for you is; who are you writing for?