LIFESTYLE, Mumbai Diary

Do you write to be read?

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When Bloggers Meet

This Thursday, I took the day off from my normal life to meet some bloggers in real life. As all bloggers will testify, we lead a virtual life in the blogosphere . Our  daily or sometimes occasional interaction with a fellow blogger makes us believe that we actually know the person.

One of my favourite games has been to imagine the person at the other end of the voice. This was particularly true when we didn’t have Facetime and a telephone call meant a voice at the other end of the line.

For instance, I imagined Mr. A, the man from Kerala who sold rubber gloves to be a middle aged man with a middle aged spread, thick rimmed glasses, the mandatory moustache and a stern appearance. I was surprised when I found out that he was not middle aged, not at all fat, didn’t wear spectacles and was a very pleasant person who enjoyed a good laugh!

So when I met Shalz of Shalmojo, Shilpa of Metanoia, Sanch of Sanchwrites and Damyanti of Daily (W)rite, I was keen on finding out the person behind the keyboard. Each of these women are bloggers I admire. Shalz has the most amazing travel blog with stunning photography. Shilpa’s blog posts are truly transformative with her motivational posts. No matter what she is going through, her optimism shines through.  I fell in love with Sanch’s poetry during the A to Z challenge last year where she wrote a poem in a different style each day. As for Damyanti – I was just intrigued by a person who seemed to be a strident activist and a serious novelist.

I had met Shilpa earlier and  de-mystified my image of her. She turned out to be much tinier and older that what I thought she’d be. I expected Shalz to be taller,  Sanch bigger and Damyanti a sophisticated writer from overseas.

The sizing was a bit off, but my impressions of them pretty much matched their real life persona.

After all, as Virginia Woolf says:

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

And each of these women’s voices comes through in their writing.

However, I was a bit apprehensive meeting them as they are almost half my age . Daughter No. 1 even offered to call me and bail me out if things weren’t turning out as per my expectations.

But it turned out that age was just a number in my head. It was a delightful meeting where eating took a back seat to meeting. Within minutes, all of us were talking as though we had known each other for years.

The ladies very graciously agreed to come to my side of town and the three hours that we spent together went by really fast!

Apart from the many fascinating stories we shared ( particularly Damyanti) the conversation veered naturally to blogging. After all, we shared a common interest and met on a common platform : Corinne’s WriteTribe.

So we spoke about blogging platforms, self hosting, guest posting and various issues that I was quite curious about.

Why do you write?

One of the topics we touched upon ( after Damyanti left) was numbers and why we write what we write. None of them were bothered about the numbers and said that they wrote purely for the joy of writing.

counting the numbers.jpg

They all agreed as ONE that it is NOT the numbers that matter but the CONTENT.

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.” – Wally Lamb

Naturally, what we write matters. After all, many of us make the time and take the effort to write good stuff. Because as we all know, if you offer peanuts you will only get monkeys.

And these writers are blogging purely for the love of blogging. And even though they are not chasing numbers, having an audience to write to is pretty gratifying.

While talking about publishing, Damyanti  busted the myth that writing is a lonely experience. Instead, she explained how writing is a collaborative process between the writer, the agent, the publisher and the editor.

However, I am not writing a book ( at least not now).

It does stoke MY ego to know that my content is something people look forward to. My words bring them joy. Or perhaps my readers can learn something special from my writing.

On the other hand, I am definitely NOT writing in the dark just hoping for that random reader to drop by and make a random comment ?

So the questions I’m asking all my fellow bloggers are, do you write to be read? Or do you write because you want to write for yourself?

I would love to read your answers so do leave your comments below.

In the meanwhile enjoy your Sunday!

Ciao

Image of Bellybytes

p.s. Apologies for this very blurred image but I have deliberately blurred the image in order to protect privacy………

Author: Bellybytes

Proud Mumbai gal who always sees the humour in life. The mum who made banana fritters when all the other mums made cupcakes.

24 Comments on “Do you write to be read?

  1. As a writer I write to express my thoughts, my feelings and voice my opinion. Of course I do wish to be read and I found I got a good number of views when I wrote on other platforms like mycity4kids but then not every kind of content works there. So end of day the question remains- do you want to write stuff that others read or maybe you may have no takers but you are keen to write about a subject. I went ahead with the latter as it gave me a lot of happiness. I did not see any blurred picture btw so put up a snap Sunita and let me know if you are in Pune . I would love to meet you in person!

    1. I would love to meet you too ! Unfortunately my visits to Pune are fleeting but if you do visit Mumbai do let me know ! And yes , if you write what you want to write about it is far more rewarding than a sponsored post or pandering to your audience

  2. Those followers count are really something for those who say they do not believe in figures and numbers. My wordpress follower count is at 364 even after approximately 5 years of blogging and I can cross my heart before saying I do not pay any heed to this number because this number doesn’t mean or never does convert into readers, visitors or page views. My readers primarily come from Write Tribe and BAR.
    I began writing for myself. I kept on writing for myself and quite self-centerdly I still write for myself. The moment I start doing things keeping others in mind, I lose my internal compass. I briefly began to think my book reviews are for others and then I lost all interest in writing/blogging book reviews. I am now back to from where I started with the promise to write even if there is nobody to read.
    It was nice to see in person once again, courtesy the bloggers meet 🙂

    1. Thanks for your very frank response. I can see that you do write from your heart and as you said, I subscribe to your blog only because I want to keep up with your posts . They are always informative and interesting.

  3. First of all, it was a wonderful meeting that day, Sunita! Second of all, it feels so good to read something about myself from another’s point of view! So, thanks for these sweet words about me! <3

    When I began writing, I did it because I needed something to distract my mind from Life and her idiosyncrasies. ALso, it had been a dream to write. The “number game” began very recently, actually as recently as this year, when my new blog completed a year. Also, this obsession with numbers does have an effect on me many times. I do scroll down to see the number of views my blog receives everyday, but then the next moment I forget all about it and eagerly read the comments people leave on my posts. As far as followers on other social media is concerned–I care a damn now, for it is not a reflection on my writing.

    I write because I wish to write and wish to improve my writing and also share my thoughts with others, as well as information through my health posts. The comments that people leave behind interest me much more at the end of the day. The traffic my blog receives comes next, because it feels good to see that many people reading (or so I think!).

    However, now when I think about the question you asked, I know I need to write for myself because I wish to write. What if someday the Internet vanishes from our lives and we are left with nothing to show for our years of hard work and admiration we received!! That’s when we will have only our love for writing with us, isn’t it?

    1. Shilpa I love your straight logic. You are so clear in what you want and can express your thoughts so clearly.
      I doubt the internet will ever vanish so we can still read your views . Keep on writing !

  4. Writing is a cathartic experience and more often than not I write for myself. I find a stark difference when I write for myself and when I write to be read. But no matter how much I do write for myself, I secretly wish people would read them. Well, who doesn’t I guess? It’s wonderful that you guys got to meet. 🙂

  5. What a lovely shout out to our meetup Sunita- totally and absolutely loved reading this. I am so glad meeting us busted your age myth – daughter #1 didn’t need to bail you out after all 😉

    I am one of your regular readers and your voice comes across clear in your writing. You are exactly as I imagined to be, and very elegant and graceful too-I hope this is indeed a part of aging and I will get to it soon enough. I felt quite scruffy in comparison to you 😉

    Thank you hosting us to such a gorgeous lunch and then the Tour of the Heritage part – treasured that a tonne and went back to visiting it next morning, all thanks to you

    Loved to hear that I appear taller in my pics – bless you for that

    And I seriously feel you should write posts on Mumbai treasures since you are so knowledgable about its history and what to see

    As for writing, yes I write because I love it. It’s my thought process that I put out there and grateful for the readers I get

    Looking forward to your writing and staying in touch!!!!

  6. I saw your meet up pics, I think on Shalz Instagram. I met Shalini when I was in India this year. It makes me so happy when bloggers connect in the real world!

    To your question, I started writing and blogging for myself, it makes me happy, think clearly, share about the things I love and gives me peace. When readers do come by and appreciate your writing, I feel grateful. But I don’t think I can write for the readers. I can’t bother with numbers and followers (I tried, it makes me miserable)

    Blogging helped me connect with like minded souls. It gave me a platform to develop my writing. And that’s what matters to me at the end.

    Aditi | http://www.aditispen.com
    Aditi Kaushiva recently posted…Things to Do in London – December Edit | Aditi’s PenMy Profile

    1. You are absolutely write about writing to be read. That is one of the reasons I don’t do sponsored posts …. it kind of makes me feel I’ve sold out . Thanks for sharing your thoughts on why you write !

  7. Sounds you people had fun connecting with each other. My writing is personal and selfish, therapeutic and to be honest, pen for myself to express which is very liberating. As much as I’d like others reading me, hits put too much pressure, something I’ve stopped doing since it affects the writing. Of course, love getting feedback but at the same time, try not to be influenced or distracted by things. Let’s say, I write not to be read but finding a personal expression. I am just being honest.

  8. I don’t write for the numbers; I write for myself. As a way to express myself; process things; and share the things that make me happy. Having regular readers is a high, there’s no denying that. But why do I write: to express myself and share my world view with people, and in the process, to create a tribe/community of like-minded/like-interest souls.
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…Small acts of kindness: Support a women’s sewing circleMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your very honest answer . I think if I do write ONLY for myself and then actively promote the posts in Social Media – the numbers will happen . What do you say Modern Gypsy? Do you see that in the cards for me ?

  9. Dear Sunita,

    That sure sounds like a fun catch up.

    I write because I am. Ha! Ha! Really. I mostly write what stokes my being. Yes, it is an additional bonus if it resonates with my readers. But honestly I have never written for numbers. Ofcourse, I might pick a topic that might interest my readers, but only if it resonates with me.

    Writing is the wind beneath my wings and is what keeps me going. It helps me live a robust life and not one, that is lived in a state of blur. So yes, I do write mostly because I am passionate about the craft. And the icing on the cake is when my readers appreciate it.

    So there! <3

    https://natashamusing.com/2018/12/natashamusing-is-turning-two-blogiversary-amwriting/
    Natasha recently posted…Fill Yourself Up: #MondayMusings #GuestPost #BlogiversaryMy Profile

  10. It was good to meet you earlier this week Sunita. I know what you mean in terms of being able to write for the love of writing but also needing to know that someone is reading it. As you know based on our discussions, numbers don’t matter to me in the bigger scheme of things. Yes, it’s nice to know that people read and comment and I think as long as we are authentic and true to ourselves, the readers will come if they connect with what we have to say. None of us is going to be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s okay because you cannot please everyone. Write from the heart what you want to write about – whether it’s in a niche area or not.

    Also, I still had to laugh at you thinking I was bigger…maybe it’s because I just put my head in photos?! 😛
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently posted…Weekly Gratitude 2018 48/52My Profile

  11. The truth is, as writers on the internet, we all write to be read 🙂

    Whether that’s for numbers or the love of writing is a second point.

    Then again, why not both? What I mean is if you knew that 10 dedicated readers waited for you to write and came back to read you, wouldn’t that make you happy? I know it does for me. I have 100 WordPress followers even though I’ve been blogging for over 11 years. So, no, numbers don’t matter in that sense.

    But I love the 10 people who regularly read, comment and engage with my writing because somewhere I’ve touched a chord and that for me, means a lot.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…How to Create a Social media Strategy for your BlogMy Profile

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