As a writer, we all want to be read.
Sure, there's writing that I never want anyone to set eyes on. My sister even posted a snapshot of some of my early writing that she found at our parents' home. And yes, I hope no one but the very closest people to me would ever come across those pages.
But, for the most part, I'm a writer who wants to find an audience. Not just any audience, though. I want MY audience. MY PERFECT READER.
We want to reach a huge audience, yes. I mean, who doesn't want to write a bestselling novel, a blockbuster movie, and/or a hugely popular blog?
In fact, that's one of the reasons this blog - ShaiCoggins.com - sometimes look like a blog with multiple personality disorder. I keep getting pulled in all sorts of directions because I KNOW the rules of what makes a blog successful. Sometimes, I follow those rules because I want to do the right thing. But, for the most part, I just want to blog what I want to blog about. Never mind if it's something that will resonate with one - or one million.
The thing is, author Holly Lisle is spot on when she said:
"Never waste time chasing after people who don't like what you do."
Often, we follow a lot of blogging and writing rules to attract our audience, our demographic. Or rather, the kind of audience or demographic that we think we want to attract. The reality is: if we write things that really matter to us, then we will attract that perfect reader. Our perfect readers.
And ultimately, that's what counts. Not 1,000,000 pageviews from a bunch of people who might find our blog or book looking for something else that we normally don't want to write about.
A million readers clamoring for what they want to be served with can be tiring.
A hundred or a thousand readers who love what we love to do are worth a lot more.
So, as Holly pointed out, it's best to find those hundred or thousand commited readers who would really care about what we write - than chasing after a million who would only pay attention if we give them what they want.
Of course, if the writing that we love to do resonates with a million or more, than that would be cool too.
The first step is to figure out what perfect writing means to us. If we can blog or write without worrying about numbers, popularity, sponsorships, advertising, or jobs - what would we be blogging or writing about?
For ShaiCoggins.com, this is what I have identified as my perfect writing:
I write stories that inspire, inform, and entertain people who love exploring different ideas - especially relating to creativity, personal development, and technology - to live a full life.
The next step is to accept that no, not everyone will be our perfect reader. And that's a GOOD thing. We don't want everyone.
It's not about being exclusive or choosy or whatever. It's about wanting to connect only with the right person. The right people. For us.
In fact, I realise that I also apply this concept in my day job/business, Vervely. Now that I think about it, I probably should write a blog post titled "Are you my perfect client?" one of these days. Because, truth is, I don't want to work with just anyone who'll hand me their money. I want it to be the perfect fit. I want to know what potential clients are looking for. And, I want them to understand fully what I have to offer. If what they want and what I can give compliment each other, then I know we can have a good, long, and mutually beneficial relationship. Otherwise, the whole experience will just tank for both of us.
One thing I know is that I don't want to waste anyone's time and money by promising them things that I cannot deliver. I'd rather not get hired than get hired for the wrong reasons. So, it's always best to come clean. I know now that this applies to finding the right client, the right reader, and just about the right anything.
That's why I don't want just any client. I want the perfect client.
I don't want just any reader. I want the perfect reader.
You are an ideaholic. Like myself, you can enjoy the different things I end up sharing here - from inspirational ideas and book/movie recommendations to food notes and technology matters. Basically, you can enjoy boutiques but department stores don't overwhelm you. You don't mind not knowing what you would find. In fact, that's part of the fun.
You love living life to the full, and exploring different subject matters, like the renaissance folk. You enjoy fun, silly things - as well as serious, intellectual things. You can talk celebrities one day - and global poverty another day.
You are not highly political, but you care about community and society. You don't mind moments when defending what you believe in is right and lending your voice when the right causes come up.
You enjoy creative things, but don't feel all high and mighty about Art. You believe that creativity is part of life - and it can be found anywhere. Created by anyone.
You love books. All sorts of books. Sometimes, fiction. Sometimes, nonfiction. You like real books and ebooks. You would especially like what I have to say about books if you don't turn your nose up on most genres - even if you're not a big fan of all genres. You may have a soft spot for YA and children's literature, as well as fantasy, science fiction, romance, self-help, and business. Ideas and stories of magic and royals fascinate you.
You love technology and gadgets, but not necessarily obsessed with them. You don't mind talking about some of the coolest apps and websites around. You get excited with new gear like computers, cameras, and even craft gadgets or kitchen appliances. To you, they're like toys that you can enjoy.
You like good writing, but you're not a grammar police. You choke on your cuppa when you see those awful linguistic errors. But, to you, meaning matters more. Good stories trump spelling and syntax errors any day.
You have style. You like having a beautiful home. You love a great lifestyle. But, you know where your real priorities are. You love to dress up and look good, but you're not scared of the fashion police in case they find you in jeans with no make up and a bad hair day. You enjoy "pretty-fying" your humble abode and making all sorts of homemade stuff. But, you would not freak out if the rooms don't look like they're good enough for Pinterest or Martha Stewart won't send her seal of approval. You enjoy travel and culture, but don't need Conde Nast's guidance to go where you want to go.
You like exploring various cultures. Whether through food, language, or humour, the whole idea of seeing life through different sets of eyes from different parts of the world excite you. You might even get extra bonus points if you are naturally curious about seeing life through a Filipina Australian, married to an English Australian.
You are interested in doing great work and family matters a lot - but you are your own person. You know that you are not what you do. You are not your job. None of us are. You love your work. You adore your family. But, you also know that you need your own identity. You don't mind reading about business and work matters, as well as home life and kids. Among many other things.
You like living the good life, but you're a realist too. Food. Music. TV. Beaches. Movies. Dance. Travel. Creativity. Literature. Fashion. Books. All these - and more - spark your interest. You make the most of opportunities that come your way. But, you also accept that even though we're currently talking about "perfect" - you also acknowledge that perfection is really a matter of perspective.
You are the one I need to hear from. The one I want to talk to and spend good quality time with.
You, my perfect reader, are the reason I want to be a better blogger.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.