A couple of posts back I, quite unexpectedly, came up with the idea of writing with the deliberate purpose of reaching out, while being reconciled to the possibility of not having anyone there. This is a strange, almost non-human(inhuman means something quite different) notion. Am I trying to protect myself from the unknown, complex,even dangerous ramifications of human interaction through writing? I often wonder why people say that they do their work without the expectation of any reward. No one can be that comfortably isolated and above human contact to not want some sort of reciprocation. We are humans, not any other species. Everything that we do aspires to have human value. It is one thing to do only while being subservient to others’ wishes and not to your own. It is another to claim that I shall only work towards my own purposes and desires, as if that “I” is not just another human being, whose pre-requisite to qualify as a human being is to live harmoniously with other human beings.
Egos are very, very strong and fragile at the same time when you are creating something. Even if it is work you have lost interest in long ago, there is still desire for approval. So, the desire is not merely to be heard, but to be liked. However, our species also has faculties of judgement and ignorance, which means not all that exists shall be known, and an even lesser number shall be approved of. I often wonder at the statistical tool used by marketing people known as, the demographic. For example, the demographic of a popular music magazine in the 1960s and 1970s would have comprised of men in their late adolescence to early 30s. Basically, the period that is likely to exclude marriage and family and yet one of personal income, so that the reader could buy all that is advertised. However, this game plan excluded a very prominent group which also consumed popular music – women. Women worked and married later as well. According to the latest statistical results of Rolling Stone magazine, 59.3% are male readers while the rest, 40.7% are female. Thus, this brings to question that such a tool should not merely be about targeting a specific group to reach out with a product, but also knowing what that demographic really is and whether such a method of “knowing your audience” is foolproof after all.
Therefore, it hard to know who will read you and it is hard to write thinking that no one will. Where do we find a middle ground there? What I had thought at that moment of writing was a “comfortable contradiction” (excuse the seeming vanity of quoting myself, I am more embarrassed than anything, I promise you). I’ve been a diarist for a long time and my first rule there is that, no one should read it. Absolutely, no one. But, when I look at it, I see something that I make with the least amount of care. Thus, there is a default repulsion because no one would ever be tempted to read something so erratic, so repetitious, so whiny. I do not write to be liked there. I write to let the daily steam out, to evaluate the direction my life is going, by recording it. The obverse happened when I have been published a few times by magazines, newspapers and websites. There, I do my best to be liked, to be of interest to the most number of people because I have been given such a platform. I guess money can be a factor for writing better and not because I got paid(which I didn’t, in most cases) but because there were people willing to pay to read that publication.
Thus, blogging is the middle ground. It is seemingly free, has endless possibility of outreach, and you can make your content according to your own preferences. Those not in the know, would be amazed when they hear how much traditional publishing depends on blogs for research. If the supreme concern of writing is with “truth”, then blogging is the best possible medium you have to explore what that is. Blogging is the comfortable contradiction, or at least makes it possible for such contradictions to exist, because you can write, with very little responsibilities of time, space and morality to others, to your own heart’s desires. You write to be read, to care, but you do not have to concern yourself with pleasing, with being heard, if you do not want to. Much of the marketing principles of traditional publishing do creep into blogging, but there is space for everybody.
Maybe, that is really what I thought about when I came up with that idea. It is delusional to think that writing is organic and business isn’t. Business is concerned with understanding and providing for human needs. Writing aspires for the same. It is only when we start making reductive assumptions about the two that we make them seem inorganic. I write here to reach out, I write to be heard but, I am also writing what I want to write because I am allowed to fail here. And that option is a gift because I want to grow at writing as well.