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How You Almost Ruined My Writing

As a writing teacher, it’s probably sacrilege for me to say I’ve got to stop thinking about audience. After all, I teach my students that they must consider audience when they’re working on writing projects; it’s one of the “big 3” of rhetorical context: topic, purpose, and audience. An imagined reader is even considered a characteristic of quality academic writing (along with clear evidence and a prevalence of reason over emotion).

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But I’m not always writing academically, and I’m certainly not doing so here on this blog. Nevertheless, for several years now, I’ve struggled to blog regularly because I’m always thinking about what you, the reader, really want to hear.

We live in a world of content saturation, so why would I add to it unless you want to hear what I have to say, right? I’ve spent so much time thinking about developing a readership for this blog, rather than blogging simply for the love of writing.

So, I basically stopped writing. Oh, sure, I still journal a bit just for myself. And I write gobs of assignments and instructions and other materials for the day-to-day of teaching. But I stopped writing anything else. No blogs. No stories. Not a lick on any of the book projects that have been “in progress” essentially my entire life.

It sucks. For days now, I’ve been saying to heck with it, that I’m going to just write what I want to write and not worry about whether people want to read it or not. But then I stop myself. I’ve become my own worst critic and censor.

So, now, I’m going to try to break out of the writing jail I’ve created for myself. While every writer deep down hopes to write something that resonates with others, I’ve got to get back to why I write in the first place: for myself, for my sanity, for my love of words.

Here’s to my next words!

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