No audience: I am wondering

Alter Ego #1 (1961). Cover art by Roy Thomas.

Alter Ego #1 (1961). Cover art by Roy Thomas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wish I were heading somewhere; on a straight path with an unimpeded vision of what lies ahead. Instead, I am here at one of life’s many cross roads unsure about which way to take. Not even this blog which I started for leisure seems focused. I want to abandon it; I want to keep it.

I started bouncing with excitement. I thought that perhaps it would lead me somewhere, tell me something about myself that would unlock a gate leading to a confident future. I said my pen would roam un-tethered by the dictates of advertisers, politicians and other rein holders.  I would write for myself, never seeking to appeal to anyone else’s fancy.

Alas, my alter ego, Avram has stepped into the picture quizzing me. “For whom do you write,” she asked one lazy morning. The rising sun peeked out from under a cloud streaming strips of golden sunlight onto the patio where I sat listening to the sea and visualising a day alone at the beach peacefully watching the ebb and flow of the tide.

I ignored her.  She knew the answer, so why waste time with conversation.

For whom do you write?”Avram persisted.

“A writer must have an audience. Who are you writing for?”

‘Myself,” I answered.

“So what’s point?”

“My mind is bursting with thoughts day and night; I want to let them out.”

“If you know them and you are writing for you, why not lie in bed, look up at the ceiling and let them roam through your body… have some intellectual masturbation.”

I got her point, as much as the blog is about me, I want others to sample my offerings.  I need an audience to read and enjoy my writing; to learn from me and to challenge me to think deeper and seek more knowledge. I admit I need an audience.

My blog, however, will reflect my experiences. It will be a Caribbean potpourri, flavoured with political, economic and social issues; light-hearted with daily life stories but serious with economic and political issues. How can I attract followers when theory suggests that a blog should have a particular focus? I am at the cross road. Should I have two blogs? I wish I knew the way forward.

“But are you going to spend time, writing and researching; are you going to use electricity and internet minutes pursuing this hobby? A half-employed person like you; who is footing your bills?” My alter ego sensed victory and leaned in with all the weight of her torso.

“Take a writing job; stop saying that a writer’s block develops when you see a general newspaper that is a cope out.  You’re really mixed up for despite all your talk you are editing that Anglican newspaper. Don’t tell me again that it isn’t on your career radar, that you’re fulfilling a temporary need, some public service.  It means you can write for a living again.

“When you post to a blog you seek to appeal to someone else’s interests if not no one will read it. Therefore, you are following their dictates. So why not monetise something … get a job.”

“Money isn’t everything. I have live many years now on sub-wages so …”

“Money makes the mare fly, though,” my grandmother chimed in; she entered my thoughts as usual, uninvited but always with authority. So now I am in a quandary:  one blog, two blogs, or a journalism job?

Here in the no-man’s zone of life’s junction, it feels as if I am at the Wynter Crawford Roundabout which marks the centre of my parish and provides travellers with six roads to their destinations.  Everyone else moves purposefully along; taking their various paths with confidence, getting ahead. I stand here watching and wishing I knew where to go; that I were part of this contributing mass of humanity. But which I of these six roads is the right one for me?

Should it be Familiar Street, the road which I’ve trod for years; the one from which I was pushed by profit-seeking, selfish, tainted drivers racing to progress by all means necessary? Or, should I travel along Fight Back Boulevard stained with pain and frustration that is the road which brought me here a stronger, more determined, better educated woman.

Should it be Easy Avenue? That road looks obvious from this direction. In fact, it runs directly, some say logically, from the one that brought me here. Maybe the right choice is Expert Opinion Lane? Advisers and counsellors analysed my position and tendered their conclusion, this is it, they said. So I am asking myself, how can this lane point to the wrong way when it is so highly recommended?

Perhaps, I should use Billionaire Drive; its environs flow with financial prosperity but it requires cutthroat skills plus wheeling and dealing to navigate. But there lies Heart Terrace, the road I see in my dreams. It is paved with adventure and glistens with personal fulfilment but is lightly sprinkled with monetary reward. To travel this road, I must break free from my inhibitions, my fears, my what-ifs.

I wish I were clairvoyant, then I would know which road to take.

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9 responses to “No audience: I am wondering

  1. That’s one of the hardest things, isn’t it? Trying to figure out who your audience is, and whether you still write for yourself, or for them. Good luck.

    • Thanks Tara,
      I am trying to divide my audience by themes but I am unsure about that because people are multi-dimensional. I am, so others are as well. Good luck with your own writing. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
      marva

  2. I love the movie Field of Dreams…if you have ever seen it you probably know where this is going. If you build it, they will come. The thing is, you have to build it first. In the beginning I was jealous of the writers who somehow manage to amass hundreds, or even thousands, of followers in the first month of writing. But there is no way that would have worked for me. I would not still be writing if I had had to endure the pressure of producing for so many readers so quickly. More than six months out from starting I have earned 125 regulars. I’m very pleased now that I have taken time to build my blog, my purpose, and my audience, and understand my audience’s stories. I was scattered to start, but building the framework and the audience together has been the best construction plan for me.

    • Thanks Melanie for your kind words and encouragement. I started another blog during October which some of my friends followed but because I have various interests, I realised that I was not pleasing them even though I started by not focusing or really caring about an audience. Yet, I began to feel I was being frivolous by creating posts that were lighthearted. (We know important issues are often exposed in light post).
      I found my blog wasn’t read and I felt in danger of losing the few I had gained. I lost confidence and thus started this blog where I could be myself but in my mind I am feeling so unsure.
      So hence the crossroads.
      Guess it is first time jitters!
      Thanks, you have made me reconsider some of my earlier views.

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