Several years of my professional life were spent in a publishing house, and it always bewildered me that so many people wrote manuscripts — whole books — tapping away during every spare minute they had for years, writing into the void without first checking whether there was actually an audience for their work.
Hundreds of would-be authors had complete faith in the twaddle and dross they submitted for consideration, thinking of themselves as great writers, even if nobody had ever read what they’d produced. They assured me there clearly was a market for their masterpiece, because their husband/mother/son/ aunty/neighbour/best friend/highly literate cat had simply adored it. And every one of them was stunned when I rejected their submission. Stunned and hurt.
So, if I started a blog, who the heck was it for? Just me? If that was the case, then perhaps I should just keep a journal. For my friends and family? Let’s face it, they listen to me in real time, so it would be grossly unfair of me to expect them to devote their alone-time to hearing my voice too. I had snookered myself. No readers = no point in writing.
But a couple of months ago, I went to a writing workshop that promised to help me get started with whatever it was I was burning to write. I hated it. I sat through the whole day battling the voice in my head that was telling me I was a fraud, an imposter, not a writer’s bootlace. Publisher-me kept rejecting writer-me.
What are you going to write?
I have no idea. Just stuff.
Stuff? What sort of stuff?
Oh, you know… life… work…kids…
I dunno. Just because I want to…
And who’s it for? Who’s your audience? Your market?
And then the instructor said this: It’s none of your business what you think about your own writing.
The woman is clearly crazy. What does that even mean?
She might just have a point .
Are you kidding? It’s meaningless drivel.
But what if she’s right?
So, here I am. Writing into the void. Throwing my voice into the black hole. Making a commitment to blog every day for a month, with no safety net. And no known audience. But that’s none of my business either.