Sometimes, Your Audience Simply Doesn’t Like It

I wrote a blog this week and was so satisfied with it. Unfortunately, my audience did not seem to share that view. Only the kindest of my followers stopped to comment, and only the most loyal stopped to vote. So I’m left to ask,”Should I have assessed the interests of my audience more accurately? Or was I correct in writing exactly what I planned to write?” I guess the answer to those questions depends on my reason for blogging in the first place.

This is actually a profound question, because it’s about more than writing. Do I answer to myself, or someone else when I set goals. Is there an ideal in my head when I start a project, or am I constantly testing the waters around me to see what others expect?

How do I live my life? Of course I don’t live in a bubble. Wouldn’t last long if I did that. But I also can’t live in a balloon that drifts about in response to the slightest breeze, the slightest suggestion of displeasure.

I’m going to share the essence of that unsuccessful blog here. I still like it, though perhaps I could have explained the theme better. Perhaps my message was too subtle. I’m very anti-war. I know, I know, there are probably times when everyone has to come to the defense of their particular group. But generally I believe war benefits a few and most who die and suffer don’t really know why that fate has befallen them.

The picture at the top of the page is a still from a GIF I created for the blog. This was part of a collage contest. If you’d like to see how that looks as a GIF, just click on the link and you will be connected to my Steemit blog.

Associated with the picture was a brief history of gunpowder and cannons–mostly gunpowder. I emphasized the toll these inventions have taken on life. But maybe I was too tongue-in-cheek.

If you read the blog, please let me know. How does it sit with you?

I would write the blog again, but perhaps put in some pictures of flowers and birds. People like that stuff. Maybe a few dogs and cats.

One thing I know for sure: never blame the audience. If I write for myself, then I should be happy that I please myself. And if I write for an audience, then I should always keep that audience in mind. A good writer, I guess, strikes a balance.

Ah, we’re back to life again. A well-lived life is a balanced life. That’s what they say, anyway.

Ideas That Blossom and Those That Don’t

It surprises me sometimes when I see the number of writing forums where people are offered prompts. Sometimes these prompts are offered to elicit pieces with a common theme. In that case, the writing is almost a creative Rorschach test. Outcomes are compared and we gain insight into the writers through their interpretation of the prompt.

Sometimes, however, prompts are offered because people lack ideas. The prospective authors need a little push, kindling to get the creative fires burning. This deficit of ideas perplexes me.

Where is the child who lacks ideas? That child does not exist. Children’s imaginations are so rich that sometimes they get lost in their imagined worlds. We may come upon them in a kind of reverie, as they entertain people, or creatures, who are invisible to us.

What happens to the child’s imagination? Does the child willingly leave it behind, or is it ‘schooled’ out of existence by parents, teachers and counselors?

It seems the effort to stultify imagination has increased in recent years. There’s no time for art, for music, for self-expression. These are trivial pursuits and are gradually being erased from school curricula.

Parents follow suit. They must prepare their children for the ‘real’ world: math, technology, science, computers. These will be the tools necessary for survival in the modern economy.

But there is something overlooked. Each of these fields is fueled by ideas. The leaders in these fields will be creatives, those who can imagine what others cannot see. The Einsteins, the Curies and the Pasteurs worked hard, but they imagined horizons beyond those that already existed.

As we prepare our children to lead rich lives and to become leaders–innovators–in society, we must not train them to be drones. They should not think of themselves as filling a mold, but as, perhaps creating a new form.

I don’t think the fire of inspiration–imagination–dies a natural death. I don’t think people, as a matter of course and a reflection of maturity, run out of ideas. I think this wonderful gift is ‘trained’ out of them.

Perhaps, if we find ourselves in need of prompts, we might retrain our minds. We might spend time doing nothing but thinking and imagining. If we give our minds a chance, we might be able to reawaken the child in each of us.

The Blank Page

I just opened a new text file. The idea for a book has taken hold. The blank page invites me to express that idea. Oh, this is daunting. What writer has not faced that blank page with dread. And then I realize…that blank page is freedom. Nothing will be there unless I write it.

So, how to start a book without freezing at the prospect of creating something from nothing? Remember I have the freedom to do whatever I want with the page. There are no rules, except those I apply. No expectations, except my own. And failure? I am the only judge, because it is my page, my idea.

If I fail myself, my expectations, I can erase the page. So, why not start? Why not go forward on this adventure, which can lead anywhere I choose.

Poof! There goes writer’s block. You are welcome to borrow my self-talk, if it helps.

I’ll report back and let you know how things are going.