Who is reading? And who am I writing for?

I find it hard to make writing not just about me, but also about others. I have saved many drafts but publishing none because those stories are just all about myself. And this one might be, also.

It’s about how the world around me affect me. When I started this blog, no one knows. The only people I found reacting to my posts were strangers, and I felt secure. “They wouldn’t judge, because they don’t even know who I am”, I thought. It was fine for me to write about whatever I wanted, and I indeed did just write about my day and my thinking process during the day. Everything was so pure. My writing was pure.

Okay, I know it’s not that pure, but still!

Then I started sharing the website with one or two friends that I believed understand me and would not take my writing as a weapon against me. I was sharing it to them, because after all, pieces of words ask for audience. I wanted audience to give me feedbacks on what I write about and how I write about things. My dream was and is to publish a book one day, soon, so I thought reviews would be necessary to improve.

A friend or two. And then more friends. And then more and more people reading my writing. More people seeing me “naked”, and so as time goes, I forgot my initial motivation. I started putting on clothes. I started dressing up, because I was so afraid of what people think about me when they see me. I tried to shift my writing away from me, and draw it towards others. And at some point I have this mindset that it is unacceptable for me to keep talking about myself. On my own blog.

Then I stopped publishing anything. I can’t stand myself wearing the kind of clothes I don’t see myself fit in. Before, I didn’t care much about what I have written. Those posts were from my first write though. I didn’t edit them. I didn’t think much about the topic or the rhetorical situations. I simply just poured out the words, and that was just it. Now, because I am more aware of who is reading, I control the flow. “It should be like this so people would enjoy.”

What writing is actually about, though? What is the point of it? I know it would be good, or excellent, for one to write with the purpose of serving others, but I am just too small of a person to do anything that big. Or is it about me, then? About oneself who chooses writing because it doesn’t involve work with others.

I like making beautiful things.

That isn’t a quote from me, but from an author in whom I find me. Taking writing as pure joy and as a way to relax. But at some point he started to make his talent into a way to benefit readers, and I think that is what gifts are supposed to be. I wouldn’t say I am gifted. At the end of the day, I retreat to my bubble again, to think more of why I can write and why writing is especially special for me. It’s interesting to see how for some people writing is a chore and for others it’s a hobby. It’s interesting to gradually find myself in disciplines that many others choose not to get involved in. That makes me feel belonged to the place I am — I am not just following the path of others and conform but actually going on my own way.

I think of my writing much more of a way for me to go on and on about myself and a way to keep track of life. I keep journals because I thought they would be important for my grandkids to know about me and about the era I am living in. That’s all.

Each comment from readers mean a lot to a reader. They are not just simply words of encouragement or disappointment. They shape the way a person writes, or at least they shape the way I write. They make writers be more aware of what they are doing, and be more in control. And the sad thing about that, to me, is that I would be truly afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I would hesitate to try new things, new writing styles, new writing purposes, because I don’t want to disappoint my readers. And that’s what I am not looking for in this journey.

But after all, the question is that is it time for me to stop being too comfortable, to stop writing too much about myself but to think more for my audience. Is it that bad to let the world shape me and let God use my writing for his own purpose, which is only about serving others? Is it that bad to care a bit more of what the audience has to say?

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It is 4:47AM on a Friday that I need not to study. I think it might be confusing to read this post, because as I write, I think deeper into the topic and found myself shifting my view, even though only by a little bit. It does make sense to me now, what writing is actually about. As I mentioned before, writing is a thing I can do that not many others would choose. Same as sport to many guys and gals out there (I can’t do it. That’s the ultimate truth.) And so I think yet I am not gifted, but it is still a gift I am given as a means to serve. It goes as a side when my life became real almost two decades ago, and that means I would have to use it wisely.

And so it does make sense to me now how it is easy for me to write about myself, but it doesn’t just stop there. My gift goes beyond that, but I need to figure out how to get it there. It is hard; I sadly have to admit. But yesterday I texted my mentor saying that we should talk about “don’t be too comfortable”. I told him I found myself burying too much under familiar things that I seem to stop learning and growing. And to me that means I have failed the Creator. Yes, I would try more. And I apologize for giving excuses to stop writing.

I would begin again. It’s the fourth month of the year. There is still time to bloom. Indeed, spring is just about to come.

Published by Thi Le

Human.

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