The “Write What You Want” Paradox

Write what you want.

The advice that all successful writers/bloggers so generously offer.

The most important rule of content writing.

Write what you want. What sets your soul on fire. Write your heart out. When you want, how you want. Ignore the critic within, the haters, the naysayers.

Write with passion.

Punch the damn keys.

The rules are more like guidelines. Write what makes you happy. Write as if these were the last words you’d ever write.

To tell you a little secret: if you were to go on my blog, you’d stumble upon about 1000 or so blog posts that ignore most of the rules I teach here. Bad headlines, a quote for an intro, and just me writing with passion about life, death, and everything else in between.

And the newbie goes on and writes with passion and conviction until they stumble upon a new rule:

Write what your reader wants to read

Now, the newbie wants to be read.

Who doesn’t? But how do you balance these two rules, how to write what the reader wants to read without feeling like selling your soul?

Nuanced points

For those of you who have been brainwashed by mass-media over the last couple decades or so, there is such a thing as two opposing thoughts existing at the same time.

Two opposite ideas.

So, yes, you must write what you want. But. See? There’s a but, and that makes all the difference. Out of the million or so ideas you have, you should write about the ones who interest your readers.

There’s no awkward balancing act that needs to be performed.

You just have to write what you want, but just make sure it’s also something your readers want to read.

Whenever you set out to write a blog post, simply ask yourself who’d care about your topic, and why, and how much they’d care.

Then set out to better understand the emotional triggers, how to get your readers to care as much as possible, to invest time and effort into reading and commenting on your post.

The what is up to you. 100%. From the moment you write your first blog. No one can take that away from you.

But the how… that’s what you owe your readers.


How do you plan to write what you want in such a way that your readers will enjoy your content and come back for more?

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13 thoughts on “The “Write What You Want” Paradox

  1. I love this, and I’m eager to find a balance at some point! For now, just to actually get me interested in writing again, I’m simply writing about how boring my life is 😅 Perhaps my goal isn’t to get many readers; maybe it is. Honestly. I don’t know yet, but I’m sure it’ll come. I tried too hard to “write what people wanted to read,” but I was so disinterested in topics popular in the WP world. So I wrote what I wanted to read— which is the average, daily life of someone. A diary. I can’t be that special of an anomaly, so I’m sure I’ll stumble across people who feel the same. As much as I agree to write what your readers want to read, we also have to think of who your audience is I the first place! Someone might have a niche for writing about the carnivore diet, even though a vegetarian diet is the most popular leading blog topic in the diet blogosphere (I made that up for the sake of example.). For now, I’ll see what my readers gravitate to and keep playing on that. Right now I’m like a teenager, just being how I want to be but maybe adding more goth or jock attire in my wardrobe to see exactly where I’m accepted and where I feel I belong! Great post— I love anything that gets me thinking about how to better myself as I grow and explore and write. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love the analogies you use to express to your points! I definitely agree that the first step is writing what you’d want to read (and write), and your audience will find you. Then, once you have that audience, it can be a balance of entertaining them and yourself~ and it’s definitely possible!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will be posting my next on a volatile subject , especially in the context of my country. But as you rightly suggested, I have written with my heart and left it open ended too. Look out for it this Friday evening. I will await your comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m always amazed by which of my posts get the most reads and comments. The ones I think are wonderful sometimes get few views, and the ones I think are so-so often get lots of response. Maybe it’s affected somewhat by timing (which day of the week, for instance), but I’ve learned to just write what I want and let the readers choose what they wish. It seems to work out for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To somewhat paraphrase a line from the movie Gladiator: Sometimes I write what I want, and sometimes I write what they (the readers) want.

    Maintain passion and a desire to keep your readers interested. And keep writing. The least of us bloggers is a far better writer than those who never start.

    Like

  5. I agree, it really is a balancing act between writing whatever you want and writing things you know your readers will enjoy. But I honestly don’t mind because in a lot of ways I feel like what I write about is the stuff my readers come on my blog for anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Its so difficult for me to strike a balance between writing what I want and what the readers want as well😔 but then what do I do about it? I don’t want to offend myself and I want someone to read my post and be thankful….. The most of it all is I want to be able to go back to one of my post and be encourage as well…. This a great post but I still have to figure out how to blend what I write with what the readers want… Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post is a great and useful. I made 81 post with only few readers. I was writing what was interesting to me. Time for me to think about what interests my readers to come back to my blog. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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