At first glance, it seems obvious: we write because we have something to communicate, something that we consider worth sharing.
But that only invites a second question: worth sharing with whom? With anybody out there? With people that know us? Friends? One single person? Ourselves?
I have more than enough followers to have a sense of community and to feel listened to. I don’t have nearly enough followers to feel like I have a real impact online.
And that’s just fine.
I am grateful for the audience I have. I am grateful for the people who take the time to read my posts and look at my photos. Time is a precious commodity. I genuinely enjoy the feedback I get and I always reply. I visit regularly a number of blogs and I like discovering new ones.
Would I want a larger following? There’s a part of me who would say yes. Then again, I see blogs with thousands of followers but very little engagement on posts. What is the point of having a large audience whose members never feel like interacting with your content? Do sheer numbers provide some sense of achievement?
There are so many things in my life that I would have done differently, that I used to regret, that I would have liked to undo. There were so many things that I wanted and expected.
I still regret, want, and expect things. But I’ve learned to pay more attention to what is there now. You know, the little things that happen right under your nose, so close that you can easily overlook them.
I also pay more attention to the things I want just because I don’t have them, and the things I want because they provide something of value.
I am fine with the way things are with my blog. It’s not indifference, passivity, or lack of desire to change and develop. It’s just an acknowledgement of the fact that I already receive a lot. And that things happen the way they happen for a reason. Whatever happens with the things I create, it says something that I can learn from.
Another thing that helps me maintain some serenity is that I pay attention to the content, form, and intention of what I publish. Even if I’m not that pleased with the result, I have confidence in the point I am trying to make, and I know it’s made in honesty.
I don’t care about “content creation”, I care about creativity that leads you to express yourself and expose yourself. I want to see the personal stake and involvement of the author. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in creating for money, influence, popularity or anything else, as long as it stays honest and does not try to pass as something else. There’s already way too much pretend expertise, authority and morality out there.
That being said, I’m not a zen monk. I wish I could say that, once I publish something, I send it out in the world and let it live. It’s not that simple. I sometimes second-guess myself. I happen to worry about likes and reactions. But I’ve come some way towards realizing that it’s just a little psycho drama in my head. It’s not a big deal.
I worry and I regret a bit less not because I don’t care, but because I am more accepting of what there is.
So, coming back to the question: for whom do we publish? Well, in my case it looks like this:
For those who like the language of photography and the confluence of photography and writing.
For those who struggled with trauma, depression, anxiety, and who have searched for a way to reconnect with themselves and with life.
For those who allow themselves to be touched by many things, from a stream hidden deep in the forest to small gestures of kindness.
For my younger self.
I’d love to know who do you think about when publishing on your blog.