Who do you write for?

I read an interesting blog post yesterday about the idea of influence on bloggers. Well, specifically “man-fluence” on female bloggers.

The basic gist of the article was that the writer had gone on a date with a man she admired and told him that she wrote a fashion blog in her spare time. On the second date, he mentioned that he had read her blog, which sent her into a panic about whether or not what she had written was impressive enough for him to read.

Now, she tries to write every post as if her dream guy was going to someday read it. (As he very well might. The hubs is one of my most loyal supporters.)

The article came to my attention on Twitter, where someone called the philosophy “totally exhausting, but also depressing and bad for your self-worth.”

After I read the post myself, I have to respectfully disagree.

To be fair, I think the original poster would have gotten a better response if she had left out the fact that she was a female blogger dealing with the influence of a guy she was interested in on her writing. (That particular thesis just screams “Tear me apart, feminists!”) Of course, the blogger also acknowledged that this might happen.

However, the real point she was trying to make (to my understanding) is that you should write to impress — not necessarily to impress anyone in particular.

I try to write something for my blog every single week day. That’s a lot of writing. And I am well aware that sometimes it is not very good writing. Lately, I’ve been trying to ease off a bit, giving myself a day off when I truly have nothing of worth to say. But there are still times when the old compulsion fills me, and I’ll rattle something off just to know I did it.

Is this the best thing I’ve ever written? No. Does it fill a purpose? Sure. But is it impressive? Is it anything I would ever submit as a clip in an application? Is it even something I would promote on Twitter or Facebook? And if not, what is the point of writing it at all?

I think what the blogger was trying to say is that when you are trying to write your best, you are more likely to actually write your best. Accidental genius happens, but editing exists because it doesn’t happen all that often.

Can I tell you a secret? I almost never edit my posts. I rarely even read back over them before posting except to do a quick spot check for spelling and grammatical errors. Which is why, you might notice, there are spelling and grammatical errors from time to time. It’s a tiny bit of laziness I allow myself. My blog is, at times, a mental dump to just get something out of my brain and into words.

But when I write with the knowledge that I will be sending the piece to someone, as I would for a guest post or a published article? Or when I choose to remember the fact that anyone could read what I’ve written (new friends, old enemies, family members, my husband’s ex-girlfriends), usually the writing comes out a little better. A little more focused. A little more purposeful.

There are definitely pros and cons to both styles. Either way, I like to think what I write is honest. It’s honestly me. It’s honestly how I feel at the time.

What about my fellow blogger readers? Do you do a lot of editing to your blog posts? Do you have any particular reader in mind when you hit the publish button?

10 thoughts on “Who do you write for?

    • Whenever I read your blog posts, I just imagine it’s you talking to me in our Meredith cube 😉

  1. Erg, I struggle with this. Worrying about audience and self-editing are two reasons why I usually nix a blog all together. It’s a frustrating tension of being myself + seeing past the moment. Glad to read your thoughts on it, as you’re one of my fave bloggers!

    • Aw thank you! There are definitely times when I feel a bit self-conscious about posting or look back on an old post and think, “Welp…that didn’t really need to be said, now did it?” But other times I’ll hold back from writing about something, only to see another blogger cover the same topic a few weeks later and wish I had just done it. There are definitely pros and cons to listening to your inner critic.

  2. As a nonblogger, I do expect some quality in blog production, and especially want corrections when a meaning is skewed by a mistake. I don’t send anything, even emails, without re-reading, partly to be nearer to “correct” in messaging (I still mess up), partly out of courtesy to the reader. Nothing I just quickly write the first time comes out as clear as re-editing results in. The saying, “What’s worth doing, is worth doing right,” seems right. For whatever reason, including a new flame.

  3. Came across your blog through IFB’s retweet. My first thought was that this had something to do with IFB’s recent discussion about blogger & brand relationship (http://heartifb.com/2012/05/18/indecent-disclosure-how-much-is-too-much/), but this is also an interesting topic!

    My posts are more photo-focused, but I always re-read what I’ve written before posting. Some things fall through the cracks because it’s easy to read what you *intended* to say, rather than what you *actually* said.

    I actually worry less about the quality of the writing itself (the writing on my blog is to provide context & a little story for the photos) and more about the subject. I’m trying to find the right balance between doing a personal style blog and writing posts that reflect my experiences (the most recent post has nothing to do with fashion!).

    I also worry about how my blog appears to people I meet professionally – I’m a data analyst/behavioral economist and LOVE what I do, but it’s a male-dominated field and fashion is generally not a priority! In fact, some people might see it as a drawback, or assume I’m less intelligent because I like fashion. I’ve got a little leeway because I work for ModCloth – I’ve learned a lot by participating in online & fashion-oriented communities that I apply to my work – but I still think there’s a perceived disconnect between being a style blogger and being a data/stats savvy analyst.

    • Hi, Kate! Those are great points. I think, for me, it has been easier to let myself slack off on the editing and re-writing because my blog is almost entirely a personal endeavor. However, as I expand into possible sponsorships and more and more freelance blogging (where I would want to use my blog as a writing sample), I definitely have to be choosier about what I share.

      Personally, I love the fact that there is such a perceived disconnect between what you “do” and what you write about. If anything, it should make others perceive you as a more rounded person, but you’re absolutely right that there are stigmas in place (both toward fashion writing and blogging in general). Though I could definitely see that shifting as more and more news outlets start producing blog-style articles as time goes on.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. what an interesting topic! i definitely write with the thought in mind that anyone could be reading- my mom, my ex-boyfriend, a college roommate, my future book editor (not holding my breath on that one, ha!) so i try to read and re read a bunch until it feels good, and especially, like my actual voice!

    • Hi, Marissa! I completely agree with you that the most important thing is to keep the writing in your own voice. Honestly, I’d rather sacrifice a few grammar/spelling rules if it means making my writing more relatable and more like something I would actually say. (And I’m a stickler for grammar, so that’s saying something!)

      Thanks for commenting!

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