About two weeks ago, I wrote a post, and as the cursor hovered over the publish button, I decided against pressing it. Instead, I picked five bloggers out of the proverbial hat, individuals who I thought could relate to the sentiments in the writing, and emailed them the post. It was if I wrote a blog post for an audience of five. They all emailed me back with “comments.”
It was nice.
I’ve been thinking about this today. Writing to five people, and getting their undivided attention was in many ways MORE satisfying (and also more scary) than publishing online. Question to self: “If I was able to blog in this manner every day, emailing to five people you trust, could I comfortably close down my blog, stop ranting on Twitter all day, delete Facebook, and avoid Flickr?” And my answer was surprisingly — yes.
But don’t worry. It ain’t happening. This is all theoretical.
Still, my answer disturbs me. As a writer, I supposedly to want to communicate my ideas and feelings — and my words — to as large an audience as possible. Isn’t this what ambition dictates?
I appreciate my readers, and love getting attention from others, so maybe I’m just bullshitting myself. It was fun to go to BlogHer and be recognized because of my avatar. I do link my posts on Twitter and Facebook so I can get readers. I do get pissy when no one comments on a post that I like. So why should five people reading my work feel as satisfying as ten thousand people? Or is it? Am I talking about two different things? Relationships vs. audience?
Perhaps this is the importance of becoming — that hated expression I seem to be obsessed with — a “brand.” Being a brand means you separate yourself from your work, so your writing can be a product, the equivalent of dish detergent being sold on the shelves of the supermarket. There’s nothing wrong with that. In some ways, it is essential to making money or having a career with writing. You don’t go into business to make friends. Your goal is to push your product to as many as possible, so you can show something tangible for all your work.
And besides, I’m sure these five bloggers would start getting annoyed — even send me a restraining order — if I sent them a personal email every single day.