Blogging just for your satisfaction?

This one is in response to a recent post I saw on a Hindi blog in which the blogger says that the blog contains whatever he feels like, and no offence may be taken if the writing hurts anybody's feelings. He goes on to advocate that one's own satisfaction should be the best measure of what should be written on personal blogs.

If you are a journalist or an author, have attended any writing class or seen advice from top authors, you must have heard these two pieces of advice:

1. Write in a way that satisfies your own self. Only then can you put your best into it.
2. Write with the reader in mind. Put yourself in the reader's shoes. What does he want to read? How does he think? How will he accept your writing or respond to it? Only then can your copy be effective.

There is no marked difference in both these sets of propositions. I feel that the first one should not be interpreted as ignoring the reader or caring a hoot for others' feelings. The first one wants you to be a perfectionist while the second wants your writing to be effective. When read together, they produce perhaps the best writing advice: Put both your heart and mind to your writing; give it all the  force that comes from the best expressions and that comes from shaping it with the tools of the writing craft.

The first point perhaps talks about the emotional and talent part of writing. I have no authority on the ingredients that lead to writing that shakes people's minds: the knack of writing good prose, using apt and forceful expressions, ability to imagine and dream plots, putting the imagination on paper, and so on. Not many are borne with it and not many can inculcate it in themselves through training. I am one of those who cannot write too well and so must close this here.

However, what we all can do is to use the craft well. We can ensure that we write standard language. We can ensure to make the prose free from grammatical and proof errors. We can avoid inappropriate language. We can commit not to copy-paste others' prose. If we are not proficient in English, we can decide to revert to our mother tongue, or get the final prose edited by someone else if English is so important.

Coming to the original question: should we write for ourselves and forget the reader? That would be like filling a diary with whatever one feels like, and wishing that someone would discover it one day and then everybody would marvel at our talent. We all are free to do that, but not on blogs. A blogs is a public space on the web [unless we have restricted its viewership] and whatever we write there is for public consumption. We must not write what could hurt others's sentiments or provoke them to take an unacceptable action; and we should write what appeals others, thus contributing our bit towards enriching the blogosphere.


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Manoj Pandey