Blog Posts: Write for Today, or for the Someday?

Do you blog for today, or for someday?

In other words, do you sit down and write about what inspires you in the moment, to an audience of right now? Do you imagine your readers reading the posts today or tomorrow, first thing in the morning? Do you care at all whether a surfer who trips on your site a year from now will connect or care in any way about the post, or do you write for a community of followers and commenters who will have a conversation, with you and each other, in something close to real time?

Or do you write carefully thought out pieces of prose that you just know are exactly the right answer to someone’s need, somewhere, somewhen — not necessarily now? Perhaps you imagine that your readers find you by searching on aswang, chupacabra, or whatever your subject is, and discovering your work; maybe this happens tomorrow, maybe next year. But whenever it happens, your readers think “Aha! This is exactly what I was looking for!” Or so you hope.

P1010345Photo: Nina Zumel

I started thinking about these questions today. My company’s professional blog (Win-Vector) has always been the second kind, and when I started Multo, I had the “second kind” of mindset as well. It’s funny, really — writing for the “someday”, as I mostly do, is an inherently optimistic mindset: I’m casting my posts out like messages in a bottle, and trusting that the ocean will float them to the right people, whether I ever find out about it or not — and I probably won’t. I’m not a terribly optimistic person, by nature. And yes, I know that the proper marketing to generate engagement with my blog would help tons; I don’t do a lot of that, by choice, but that decision is a topic for another post… .

You’ve probably read the Martha Graham quote (from a letter to Agnes DeMille):

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.

I’m no Martha Graham; I won’t even claim to be an artist. But I think I get what she means. Some things one does because one has to.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying blogging for Someday is either better or worse than blogging for Today. And most bloggers probably do a combination of both, anyway. I’m just observing that, for those of us who lean towards “Someday blogging,” the rewards are more abstract, and external rewards can be far less immediate. There’s a difference in the two mindsets that’s worth pointing out; I think so, at least.

And maybe other people do, too. Somewhere. Somewhen.

6 thoughts on “Blog Posts: Write for Today, or for the Someday?

  1. Thank you this spoke to me today…..I also don’t market my blogging much and sometimes question my motives for blogging, This made me think and I know whatever one’s reason for blogging, it is still worthwhile. I enjoy your posts.

    • I’m glad this post was there for you, and thanks for your kind words. It’s always nice to know that there are people out there, reading your words — especially when you’re a Someday Blogger 🙂

  2. Nina, your description of a Someday Blogger reminded me of Albert Jay Nock’s concept of writing for the remnant which he wrote about in his essay ‘Isaiah’s Job’:

    “…in any given society the Remnant are always so largely an unknown quantity. You do not know, and will never know, more than two things about them. You can be sure of those – dead sure, as our phrase is – but you will never be able to make even a respectable guess at anything else. You do not know, and will never know, who the Remnant are, nor what they are doing or will do. Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness; and this, I should say, is just the condition calculated most effectively to pique the interest of any prophet who is properly gifted with the imagination, insight and intellectual curiosity necessary to a successful pursuit of his trade.”

    • Interesting essay. I liked his point that diluting your message for mass-appeal only alienates what should be your true audience, without necessarily endearing you to the fickle masses, at least not always for very long. Not that I would call myself a prophet 🙂

  3. Sorry to be jumping into the conversation late…but I found your bottle, read the message, and I’m so glad you threw it out there. This is a wonderful site! I wish I’d found it earlier, but I’m often late, as you can see.

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