If any of you ever took any type of introductory computer programming course (years ago), you may remember the first coding exercise was to display “Hello World” on the computer screen. Sometimes I feel like I want to reach out and say “Hello World… is anyone out there?”. There are times when you feel like you are just talking to your computer screen, which basically boils down to a mild version of actually talking to yourself. I didn’t think I was supposed to start doing that for a few more years at least!
I started thinking about this last week when I was FINALLY catching up on the last season of Ugly Betty (yes, I am a bit behind). I really enjoyed that show, and was disappointed when I heard it was being cancelled. Even though it had some good dramatic undertones, it was funny and quirky, and maybe just didn’t take itself too seriously. It was a nice change from some of the more serious dramas I also like to watch. I will miss you Ugly Betty.
Whether you’re a fan or not, anyone who writes (or has thought about writing) will probably have contemplated potential readership. In the last season of the show, Betty starts questioning the value and impact of the writing she is doing for a fashion magazine. When she started her career, she started out wanting to do more meaningful work, more thought-provoking stories, with more insight into people’s lives and even their struggles. Of course, the fashion magazine is not very interested in journalistic pieces and has her working on a lot of “fluff” articles. Eventually, her family and friends convince her to start a blog so she can write about what really matters to her.
She is a bit doubtful at first, and asks “What if nobody reads my blog?”. Hubby happened to be nearby at the time, and asked “Why do they always show people saying that? Who cares if anyone reads your blog?”. My response was, “Well, I think anyone who writes, does so with the hope that someone will read it.” His reply was “A true writer writes because they love doing it. It shouldn’t matter if anyone reads it.” I countered, if that were the case, why are there so many published books and magazines. I believe a writer writes, because they want to share their work. They want people to read it.
He went off to do whatever he was doing, and I finished watching my show. A day or two later, that conversation popped back into my head. I started mulling over the concept of doing something you were passionate about, just for the sake of “doing it”. I started thinking about other professions…
- Does a chef care if anyone eats his culinary creations?
- Does an artist care if anyone sees their paintings/drawings/sculptures?
- Does a singer/songwriter/composer/musician care if anyone listens to their music?
- Does an actor care if anyone sees their play/movie/show?
- Does a fashion designer care if anyone wears their clothes?
- Does a teacher care if anyone learns?
I could go on and on… The point being, I like to think (hope) that in most cases, the answer is yes (they do care). Maybe I’m being a bit naive, but I like to imagine these people at one time decided to follow their dreams. They are doing something they are passionate about, and in doing so want to share their work with others. I realize there can often be other motivations, since some of these professions might attarct those seeking money, power, fame or notoriety etc. Even so, I am betting at some point in their life, they started with a spark of desire to accomplish something meaningful for themselves and others. By the way, I have a spare set of rose-coloured glasses if anyone would like to borrow them!
Okay, so back to blogs… When I was first thinking about starting my blog, I really only thought about WHAT I would write about. Something I’d see, read or hear about would spark an idea. So, I kept a list of blog ideas. Just ideas…
One day, hubby and I decided to attend some local classes. On the first night there, I ran into a woman I had spoken to on the phone about the classes. I wanted to make a point of saying hello, and thanking her because she had been so helpful. Since the photography class I had intended to take had been cancelled, she asked what I decided to take instead. I told her, I just kind of chose at the last minute and picked Cake Decorating. She scrunched up her nose, and somewhat disgustedly asked “Why would you want to take that?”. First off – not very professional. Regardless, I answered that I thought it might be fun, and since I was contemplating starting a blog, maybe it would be an interesting topic. I think I’d like to share about cooking and recipes, since I really enjoy cooking. Once again, she sort of scoffed and said “Oh, well I don’t really like cooking. Besides, how are you going to get anyone to read your blog?”. I was a bit taken aback, and her question caught me off guard. I blurted out, “Well, I don’t know… I guess I’ll just share it with some friends and family and see where it goes from there.”.
Looking back, I realize my readership had really not been a factor while I was thinking about my blog ideas. I didn’t put much thought into who would actually read it. Could it be that I just wanted to write, whether anyone read it or not?
Now that I have a blog, the reality is, I like knowing people read my blog… even if it’s just a few friends or family. I like sharing information. I like when people leave comments and feedback. It feels nice when you see some people have visited your blog.
I am betting most people who write blogs do WANT people to read it. Otherwise, why bother publishing? If your audience is nobody but yourself, then you’re really just writing a journal… and that doesn’t need to be posted on the internet.
What do you think? Do you care if anyone listens to what you have to say? Do you care if anyone likes the things you make or do?