The “Write What You Want” Paradox2 min read

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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comment 37 comments
    • Brandon Brown

      This is exactly what I needed to read. I was actually just having a conversation with someone regarding blogging “what you want.” That’s exactly the direction I’m headed. Thanks!

  • aidylgrace

    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. 🙂

    • MJ Cobra

      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!

    • kiyana411

      I loved your comment. I feel like you as well in some ways. I want to gain readers but I’m not really trying to write what people want to read. I think it’s a little hard to do when your a personal blogger. I do ensure that when people stop by my blog that they can either relate to what it is that I’m going through or at least take something away from it. I’m truly hoping that’s how people see it or will see it, when paying my blog visit. Again I really liked your comment.

  • sushmita sahay

    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.

  • cordeliasmom2012

    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.

    • lifeoclock

      Yeah this seems to happen to me as well. I could work on a post for hours, really polish it and all I get is a “meh”. Other times I carelessly throw something in the wind an it comes back like a storm. Idk, still figuring stuff out 😊

      • cordeliasmom2012

        Ha! I actually wrote that comment more than a year ago, and it’s still true today – both with my writing and my photography. Recently, I spent several hours trying to take a perfect macro photo of a bug on my window, and I thought it turned out well. But at the same time, I left my breakfast eggs on the stove and they burned, so I took a photo of that (took me 2 minutes, top). People loved the Burned Breakfast photo; no one liked the beautiful bug photo. Go figure.

  • Bettencourt

    I write what the voices tell me to write

    • lifeoclock

      Do they ever tell you to write about them?

  • dvillman

    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.

  • Raney Simmon

    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.

  • keniwrite

    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

    • Cristian Mihai

      Maybe it’s a good idea to ask your readers what they’d like to read.

  • Krishna Priya Sunilkumar@gratefullivingsolution

    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.

  • anasylvi

    I write about subjects that I love, about books, poetry, music, food, fashion, sports, whatever I consider that brings joy in life. I don’t write about me, but all that’s written is, in a way, about me, because it reflects my passions. Maybe the most of all, my poems.

  • itsjusttiana

    What do you think about the idea of “writing what you want” while not having a niche? For instance, say you don’t necessarily have a “niche”, but instead write about different things that happen to be on your mind or you find interesting to talk about.

    • Cristian Mihai

      Yeah, it’s called a diary and should be kept private until you die famous.

      • lifeoclock

        Savage😄

  • Athena Minerva

    It’s difficult balancing the doublethink of write want you want, when and how with the write what your audience is interested in/will appreciate. I guess the answer is write in such a way that readers feel compelled to read until the very end and come back for the next instalment. Not an easy job to achieve by any means.

    • Cristian Mihai

      That’s what makes it wortwhile.

      Also, that’s why so few are successful.

  • M. L. Woldman

    This is good advice for some people. I’m going to write what I want and let my audience find me, rather than cater to the audience that doesn’t like what I do. My blog is my outlet to experiment with new poetry techniques and I’m gonna make it weird as hell. It appeals to some, not most. So I need to be found by the some.

  • Sunshine

    Amen!
    You have consolidated the conflicting thoughts that keep bombarding me.
    To strike that balance, between what I enjoy and the reader actually wants to read…that will be golden.
    🌻

  • kiyana411

    Omg, I Love This 🥰. I’m doing my best to make sure that I’m delivering both needs, for myself as well as the people who may read my blog. Hopefully, I’m doing it right.

    • Cristian Mihai

      You can only tell by:

      1. How happy and content you are with the content you are writing
      2. How happy your readers are about the content you are writing

  • bbqnoob

    Awesome advice. It’s definitely encouraging me to keep going!

    • Cristian Mihai

      Thank you! That’s what I aim to do with each and every single one of my blog posts.

  • Iseult Murphy

    Good post. I thought it was write what you know. 😉

  • In Asian Spaces

    Great advice! There is a very fine, very nuanced balancing of content you want and what your audience wants. Mastering that is the key to success!

  • Robert Zoom

    To this I would say that a blog should bring something not only that the readers want, but something that they need.

    • Cristian Mihai

      That would be ideal, but either one of those will get you noticed. Most blogs out there, are neither something that readers want to read, nor something they need to read.

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