Write For Yourself, Not Others
The hidden gem occurs at 31:50, a member of the audience asks, How can he become an A-list blogger.
Jeff explains like Nutrisystem, results may vary. In his response, he brings up a point I keep coming across:
I do think that if you just pick a schedule and stick with it , you will become a better writer. Right? And that will serve you very well in your career. I think and it will complement your programming skills. Even if you don't become and A-list blogger, you're writing really to satisfy yourself. You're not really writing for other people. You're writing what you want to write because you want to right about it. That's the way you have to look at it. It's the same reason you go to the gym. There is an aspect of exercise to it.
Just write for yourself. William Zinsser agrees with Jeff.
William Zinsser wrote, On Writing Well, a book about writing non-fiction. In chapter 5 Zinsser states, after writing for a while you'll ask yourself, who am I writing for? Who is the audience? Who is reading the message I'm conveying?
In English they teach you to write for your audience, but Zinsser explains the only person you should write for is you. You shouldn't care about what other people think of your writing. You are your hardest critic. If you write for yourself, and you are pleased with your work, then be happy.
There is a nuance though. The content shouldn't be about you. It should be for you. This difference is small and often missed. Tyler Braun missed this point:
So I wrote what I cared about in my free time. I wrote about sports, I wrote about some of the boring things going on in my life. And guess what? Nobody read it and even less cared.
I've talked with a lot of people who gave blogging a try and gave up because no one was reading. Almost all of them said they didn't care about whether anyone read what they wrote, but eventually the endless tide of posts no one was reading won out and they quit.
There is this disconnect between the ideal of writing for yourself and the reality of needing people to read it for the writing to be fully worth the time and effort.
And here's the thing, I think the advice to write for yourself is wrong. Completely wrong.
If that's the end goal, to write for yourself... keep a diary and don't let anyone read it.
Tyler was writing about himself, not for himself. No one cares about you, they only care about themselves. The reason they read is to learn something. When I write, I attempt to educate myself. Writing out what I learn helps me to remember it.
Writing for yourself is the only reason to write. When writing, it's okay to be selfish. You can't please everyone, so, the only person you should please is you.