Writing For A Larger Audience

Two weeks ago, I was writing for 22 followers and a handful of friends who read my blog whenever I prompted them. Now, I am writing for 113 followers and the same handful of friends. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of people who have read my blog, but don’t follow me. Writing for a larger audience is weird. Where is the training manual?

In school, they always taught us to tailor our writing to a specific audience. Back then, we actually knew the people who would be reading our work. Now, I stare at the statistics map on WordPress and it illustrates which countries people are viewing my blog from. I’m amazed and humbled by all the views my blog has gotten from countries all over the world. Canada, USA, Australia, India, United Kingdom, Australia, Uganda, Poland, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Pakistan, Switzerland, and Egypt – just to name a few of the 70+ countries.

I’m not writing this to brag; quite the opposite. I just find it hard to believe that people around the globe want to read what I write. I haven’t found a cure for cancer. I’m not a celebrity. I’m not rich. I’m not a YouTube sensation. I’m just a guy from Canada, eh, who listens to the same song on repeat, while writing blog posts at 2AM in a dark room illuminated only by my laptop screen. There’s nothing special about the process. Most of the time, I have no idea what I’m going to write. I just have a topic in mind. Then I type. And people read it. Amazing.

I guess this is globalization in action. Shout-out to the 8AM geography course I took in 3rd year. I’ve never been so smart in a class I cared so little about.

But how do I cater to this new, larger, audience? I started this blog so I could write about sports. I’ve gotten away from sports lately, but I know I’ll be going back to them in the coming days. Yeah, I already have four topics, saved as drafts, ready to go for future 2AM typing sessions.

Do my new followers even like sports? Will they stop caring about what I write once I start blending some sports posts in with my other ones? I have no idea. My guess is that people living in India don’t really care about the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending tandem. I could be wrong. Then again, I don’t really care about it, either. As Al Davis used to say, “Just win, baby.”

Man, blogging is hard. How can I appease everyone? Can I appease everyone? Should I appease everyone? Is that too many rhetorical questions to ask?

Probably because I like to make sure that everyone is satisfied and everyone feels important. It’s why, when people wish me a “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, I respond to each and every one of them and not just “like” their post. To me, that’s a bit of a cop out, but I understand why people do it. When my post got featured two weeks ago, I received over a hundred comments on it. I replied to every single person. The easy thing to do would’ve been to ignore everyone and just say, “there are too many people to thank, so I’ll just give one big thank you.” No, I couldn’t do that. That is not how I treat my audience. Even though, after the 15th comment, I felt awkward. I was saying, “Thank you for the comment!” so much, that I sounded like a robot. I felt like people deserved more than a generic comment. So, I switched up the manner in which I said “thank you.” I made sure each person had a unique comment, rather than something I had uttered 100 times over. If they took the time to comment, I would take the time to respond.

It would have been easy for me to reply to every person by just saying a simple, “thank you.” But, those two words lose all meaning when you say it so much. And when you do it for everyone, it looks like you’re in a rush and really don’t care about their comment at all.

While we’re on the topic of things losing meaning. Favouriting tweets on Twitter – they used to bother me all the time. For the first 18 months I had Twitter, I barely favourited any tweets. Why? Because, to me, the word “favourite” has always implied “one” or “just a few”. You can’t have 8 favourite colours. You have one, or just a few. Same thing as Twitter favourites. I didn’t understand how people could favourite so many tweets on a regular basis. It diminishes the worth of all the tweets you previously favourited. I have since moved passed this, but if I’m going to favourite a tweet, it better be of 11/10 quality.

Now back to regularly scheduled blogging…

I promised myself when I got featured on Freshly Pressed, that I would remain humble and not let a larger audience affect me. I remember the days when I was excited by 8 views on my blog in one day. That was truly something. I remember getting random comments and being so grateful that someone actually cared.

It’s important for me to remember where I came from. And although I have an audience all over the world, I can’t change who I am as a writer. I will still write about Toronto sports teams as if everyone reading is a member of Leafs Nation. I cannot control who reads my blog. I cannot control who likes my blog. I can only control the content of my blog. If people like it, great. If not, I understand.

That being said, I realize that I cannot go back to strictly talking about sports. Quite frankly, I got bored of it in August, which is what sparked my “Life” posts. I think a healthy diet, for me, is eating anything I want. But, in terms of this blog, a healthy diet, for me, is a combination of sports and everything else. That way, I can satisfy everyone, hopefully. Let’s be honest, this blog didn’t grow because of a post I made about sports. I need to acknowledge that and accept it.

I lose enough sleep by writing these posts at the time of day that I do. Then, I normally watch a TV show before finally falling asleep. Today, it’s the season finale of The Newsroom. Shout-out Operation Genoa. Anyways, I don’t want to lose more sleep worrying about whether my readers are intrigued by what I write, or not. Of course I want you to like what I write, but I can’t think like that. When I think of what to write about, it’s for my own purposes. If you end up enjoying it, great. It means that the literary piñata has been broken open for all to enjoy.

So, new readers, bear with me as I incorporate sports back into my blogging diet.

No matter how large my audience becomes in the future, my posts will not change. I will not change. I will still write the same way, make up odd analogies, and insert some jokes that you hopefully laugh at, whether I have 1 follower, 100 followers, or 500 followers.

As the song goes, “I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to.”

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About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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2 Responses to Writing For A Larger Audience

  1. Charleen says:

    I’m sure my readership hasn’t grown as much as yours has, but I think my style of blogging has naturally evolved over my six months here… more because I’ve gotten more comfortable with my writing than because I’m catering to any particular audience. Still, it does makes a difference knowing I have more than just the three readers I started with.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      I agree with you. I think my writing has improved and evolved since I started as well. I seem to follow the same sort of flow with every post now. At the beginning I didn’t really know what I was doing.

      Like

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