Without a reader, there are no words…

If a tree falls in the forest…and no one is there to tweet about it, did it really happen?

True or false?

As a blogger, are you a performer? As a performer, how long would you perform if nobody showed up? Even if you are epic on top of epic, would it matter? If nobody showed up, would you consider it practice and would you be content to just practice?

When did you decide you were a writer? When you started getting paid for it? Oops……..

I like to hit golf balls, regardless if anybody shows up and I am certainly not getting paid to do it. Can writing be the same way?

But I have a message to tell

Me too, pull up a chair and I will be happy to share it with you.

My message? Buy low and sell high….timeless advice indeed, how can you go wrong with that?

I know some prolific and talented writers that exist within the blogosphere and probably would have never met them without this platform. Can you put a value on that?

I also know they better not give up their day job quite yet however, if they want to eat. It’s not that they don’t have the talent, they just haven’t had all the planets line up quite right just yet.

I hope they keep trying.

I like to read

But it doesn’t make me a writer does it?

Same with music; I love music and it certainly doesn’t make me a musician.

Where is the crossover? There are many, many more of us who will only consume instead of produce, right?

That works pretty well for the just show up guy, huh?

Of course writing is easier than producing music in the fact I don’t have to learn how to play an instrument. However, can you be a good writer if you aren’t a student of grammar and structure or don’t spend hours a day practicing your craft?

I need more cow bell.

I can be just smart enough

I have a plethora of nicknames, but Einstein was never one of them except the one time I forgot to put the drain plug back in the boat and after we started taking on water my friend said “hey Einstein, nice job.” Doh…..

However, I feel I am smart enough and contrary to what my wife might say, I feel I have enough common sense to make it through life. So, shouldn’t you be able to convert your love of reading and learning into something you can call your own that other people enjoy reading? On the surface, it doesn’t seem that daunting; maybe not on a level you are compensated for but if that was your main focus I am sure you could make it happen on some level.

Hey, why don’t you start a blog?

There are so many moving parts to try to keep up with in social but at its core, the one thing I can do is write. I didn’t say epic, I just said I can write.

So what do you think, are there any words without a reader?

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64 thoughts on “Without a reader, there are no words…

  1. Sorry, but you’re not going to find out the answer to your question here.

    ~ A Reader (Who also happens to be A Writer)

    I’m a performance writer. I mean, I’m a writer, regardless, but if not for readers I’d just keep a journal. The fun is in the communication, and that takes two or more minds.

    • Aw come on, give me an answer…….

      I kind of fell into blogging but found I really like the writing and engagement it brings. Without the feedback, sadly to say, I would probably give it up. I do like the communication and sharing of thoughts and ideas it allows.

      Good to see you today; I hope all is well with you.

  2. Interesting question, Bill. In the days way back when, before the Internet, people’s work wasn’t read widely until it was published. That meant it had to be approved by the powers that be, leaving many talented writers unnoticed. Was less written then than now? Probably. But I bet many writers then didn’t worry about having an audience.

    Now, instead of the powers that be, we writers have an internet audience. Do the articles with the best writing get the most traffic? If you write it, will they come? No need for Triberr, Twitter, Facebook, search engines. Just hit the Publish button, sit back and wait for the readers to arrive at your site.

    I started writing fiction as a teen and have enjoyed the writing process ever since. Having an audience for my writing is very rewarding, perhaps necessary for me to continue writing non-fiction. But for my fiction I may prefer not to have an audience.

    • A funny thing happened on the way to the store…….when I rolled out w/ the invisible blogger moniker, deep down I thought I would truly be invisible. Yes, I put some time and effort in to grow an audience just to see where it would go, but it certainly exceeded my expectations.

      I feel I am a personable guy, easy to like; a lot of that personality comes out in my writing so even though it might not be epic, it’s easy to read.

      At one time, before the internet I was a letter writer so maybe there always was a writer in there waiting to get out. However, I was too busy playing as a teen to actually do any serious writing.

      Have you ever watched two tennis players and it’s very easy to spot who had the lessons early and who started playing later in life. They are both good players, but you can tell the difference. Is that the difference between me and you or is something like that noticeable?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. I’m first. [grin] Again.

    There are words – even if they are not read. Laughter. Tears. And everything else. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your (and my) philosophy.

    But you really do need to add Comment Luv to this blog. That’s the same comment system that the Jack B uses.

      • But, you can’t have a free site and get it.

        When you come to Florida in March, bring enough money for me to go self-hosted for a year and I will buy you a beer……….or two……….:).

    • I’m hoping with Jack’s new job he can pay for me to have a self-hosted site; until then, or if I win the lottery, I will be Mr Free Site for awhile I’m afraid. I know it’s very amateurish, but that’s my world…

      However, without jumping into this crazy world, I would have never met you, right? Or been able to enjoy your creative and talented mind. So, I might not be able to get on stage, but I did get to see you perform.

  4. I thought that was what blogging was. A platform to publicly air your laundry. Who cares if anyone reads it. It’s just fun to write.

    Having said that I truly believe social was invented to feed the egos of the masses, especially writers. Ha.

    • And some people REALLY air their laundry, huh? Is that skid marks I see in them drawers?……..:).

      Social was invented to give the nerds and geeks a voice but once they gained their confidence then it carried over to feed the egos. I say that jokingly, but it did allow a platform for the timid and unpopular to have their voices heard. How can that be a bad thing, because a lot of them are very talented.

      It truly is a great equalizer…….or equal opportunity offender; however you want to look at it.

      Hola Ralph.

      • You just made that up, Bill. Pulled it right out of your…ear canal. Nerds and geeks were plenty happy with the old BBSes they ran. With online services (paid by the hour) like Compuserve and GEnie. Then Marketing folks decided everyone needed to be online, all the time (IBM and Sears were among the first to recognize the advertising potential, even if it didn’t quite catch on fast enough to suit). Social was invented as an ad vehicle. A fun, interactive ad vehicle. They made it so “easy” that even Grandma could get online and check the Lotto numbers or shop for an Easter outfit. That’s the only reason it’s so darned cheap – if not free. In the 1980s, people were paying $12/hour and up for the privilege of chatting online amongst themselves (at a blazingly fast 300 baud, and you had to be at least a little geeky to get the modem coupler to stay connected to the phone – especially if it was a Princess phone and took lots of those really strong rubber bands). Nerds and geeks? They invented the concept and backbone of social media. The ego is in the fact that they were the pioneers – but once the technically disinclined moved in, they found other places to play.

        Early blogging (or weblogging) might’ve been a platform for sharing amongst the nerds and geeks; my first foray into it was as an easier (lazier?) way to add “dynamic content” to my “static web site” without having to mess with ftp clients and HTML every time.

        Facebook started out as a way for the nerds and geeks to find hot chicks in college.

        BTW, I have no right to call myself a nerd or a geek; I’m just a writer. But an old one, and not completely non-technical. ;)

      • I’m just a dork, I don’t think I can qualify as a nerd or geek. I’m the parent that got on Facebook and ruined it for the techie crowd. Once they made it easy enough for me it was definitely time to move on to something else. And then when my parents got on it, you know anybody could ‘do it’ now, huh?

        I’m not an early adopter but not late either, probably a tweener. I didn’t really start interacting on the internet until twitter and the blogs however.

        I don’t know what my label should be but I do like the writing and interacting and from what I can see that will at least get you a seat at the table. It might be in the back corner, but it’s your ticket in, right?

        You were born to write…I was born to just show up….:).

  5. I’m confused…am I supposed to be the writer, the reader or the tree? Just kidding!!! I started my blog to write…simply to write, and stop the self-editor in me. I’m coming up to my 2-year writing “anniversary”, so I will continue to, in the words of TheJackB “Just write baby, just write”… my new mantra. Cheers! Snowshoes

    • Hey, I’m approaching two years pretty quickly too; what a journey, huh?

      You know my story, but I got in because I thought it’s what gave you street cred as a commenter. Then, people started showing up so it was like “now what do I do?”

      It has allowed me to see how much I do like the writing part, and other than time, it’s not an expensive hobby like golf can be. That’s a good thing, right?

  6. “, how long would you perform if nobody showed up” That’s the eternal blogger’s question, isn’t it? And yet, this is where we all start! I think the beauty of blogging is that you get to pour your heart out no matter who is reading. If we did it that way in the beginning and then evolved to a place where we count comments and visits we’ve lost the original purpose.
    Would you write if no one read? Yes you would – if you are a writer you HAVE to write. Even if you are the only one reading it. Until you push “Publish” you are the only reader and think of the pleasure you have in the act of putting those words together. What comes after that is outside affirmation. The words are no less “good”, the piece hasn’t changed. Maybe as bloggers we need to go back to the original intention of having a web-log – writing for ourselves. Its the only “heart” way, the only way that really matters.
    Lori

    • Well said, if we want to keep it to ourselves then just don’t hit publish.

      I believe the writing allows us to go much deeper with our thoughts; more so than we could ever do in just a conversation. There are so many parts to it that you can contemplate and think about each piece; we are etching our thoughts and words onto the screen. Pretty cool indeed.

      Good to see you Lori, I hope all is well with you.

  7. After losing my Dad to Alzheimer’s last year I found myself wanting to, as John Hiatt said “get some details down.” Writing certainly can be therapeutic/healing by itself. It seems to me that the real therapy comes when you finally can share it?

    • Interesting story Kevin; when my dad passed away I got into genealogy and wanting to find out more about my family. It put me in touch with some older relatives and allowed me to hear their story which I could have very easily missed. I shared these stories with other family members and by being able to share it as well, it was a form of therapy.

  8. Hey Bill,

    I would probably just keep writing even though I didn’t have any readers. That’s how I started blogging. I wrote to become a better writer. And, from out of nowhere, some people started to read and the rest is history :)

    On the other hand, I would stop eventually. It probably wouldn’t be as much fun without some witty comments :)

    • I hear ya about people showing up; I had to quit laying around in my underwear and actually put some clothes on when they came to the front door.

      Like you, I do like the interaction and feedback. I’m not in as deep as I was, but as you can see, I’m still here in some form or fashion….even if I’m a mere shell of the social guru I used to be……….:).

      We ended up having homemade spaghetti for the Super Bowl.

  9. Hi Bill

    My mother used to write and very few ever saw what she scribbled on paper. She tried to get some of it published, but other than a few poems in a local newspaper none was ever accepted. She has been gone for over 20 years now, but I am sure she would have loved to have had the opportunity to have been published on the internet. Actually I think she would have thoroughly enjoyed it, once we could get her up to the new technology. My dad never appreciated her work, but never tossed it out when she was gone, although he did hand the box to one of my brothers, of all the snippets of words on backs of envelopes or whatever scrap of paper she could get her hands on. They never wasted anything in my house, so if it had white space, it could be used for shopping lists or my mother’s bits of writing.

    Do we write for others? Maybe somewhat, but if we didn’t like to write it would be a self-destroying action that should not be embarked on and I think it would also be hard to do. Without feel, how can you write anything worth reading, at least not on a regular schedule.

    Interesting post.
    Mary

    • That’s a great story about your mother. My dad passed away several years ago but one of his possessions I treasure was the journal he kept while he was in the Army fighting in the Korean War.

      My dad was a letter writer too and he used to bang out letters to relatives on this old typewriter we had. I think I always wanted to emulate my dad so maybe that’s what got me to here.

      You make a good point as you do need to have some ‘feel’ if you want it to be worth reading. Good to see you Mary, Mary quite contrary………..:).

  10. Falling trees or not, tweets or not, I write. Sure, I do it for the practice. That’s what I tell people, anyway. More truthfully, though, it’s too keep the insanity at bay! I am miserable if I do not write – worse still, I make others miserable if I do not write!!

    Too keep those silent falling trees and twitter graveyards from spooking me, I killed all the stat counters on my blog, and write in spite of the chirping crickets. :)

    • Ah yes Ms Ruth, you are quite the writer indeed. I do believe writing is your drug of choice, but I suppose it could be a lot worse, huh?

      Good thing we have the internet so maybe we don’t have to use too many of those falling trees for paper now.

      So good to see you; I hope all is well in your world. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      • Hi Bill, I agree with Ruth. I, quite happily, painted in obscurity for decades before social media as we know it today existed, and I’ll continue to paint and write whether or not I have an audience, because my creativity is born from an internal drive independent of recognition. That being said, I am honored by anyone who is engaged by my work, since communication–like in most art–is at the heart of my work. And I am even more interested in their response to it than my intention.
        But that’s me; everyone is unique and their purposes and intentions valid. This is our gift to each other.
        Great post, Bill!

  11. Most of what I write is available, but not all of it. I have a short story about a serial killer (not Touched) that I’ve only shown my parents and one other person. It isn’t that I’m hiding it, I’ve just not decided what to do with a work I’m exceedingly proud of and think people would like. Still, if I never do anything with it, it still exists for me. (and my parents and the woman in Texas).

    I think words can exist without the writer knowing if they will ever be read. Anne Frank and her diary comes to mind. Her words certainly exist and she never knew how much an impact they would have.

    That being said, having readers is WAY better than not. When I get comments on my novels, it makes me so happy I could do a little dance (Sometimes I do), so though there aren’t any guarantees that people will find your writing, I say, go ahead and post it, they just might. And if the person is in a giving mood, they may leave a comment and then you can dance, too.

    • Dude, you have to send me the book; I like your style and I’ll bet your serial killer book is one that needs to see the light of day…………unless it’s an autobiography…………..:).

      Do you think Anne Frank wrote her diary thinking somebody would read those words someday?

      You are very talented and certainly have the ‘knack.’ Are you giving away too much for ‘free?’ If I get your books published, do I get 10% as your agent? Or a round of golf?

      If you become crazy famous, can I have the Extremely Average moniker?

      • Bill,

        I’ll send you the serial killer short story after I hit “Post Comment”. I’m thinking of entering it in the Amazon Shorts Weekly contest, so having someone give it a look would be wonderful. Or were you talking about the novel, Touched? You can have it, too, just let me know.

        I wonder if she thought about that. When one writes a diary, I imagine that though it is private, they probably imagine it will be read someday. Of course, a scholar on her life might know the answer.

        I think I can handle the publishing. I did all the publisher tasks for “Two Decades and Counting” and found it rather enjoyable. I’m working on the cover for “Secret Doors: The Challenge”, my YA novel, and then it will be ready to go. “Henry Wood: Time and Again”, as you know, is ready for launch, I just need to pick a date. “Henry Wood: Perception” is in the process of being edited, but still has a way to go. “Underwood Scotch and Wry”, should also be fairly easy to make available, as I already have an idea for the cover art, which is often the piece that holds me up (I just need to finish writing it, maybe four – six weeks). As for “Touched”, I’ll need to wait until it gets knocked out of the Amazon Breakout Novel contest and then figure out something for the cover (I have no ideas, yet).

        I think I’ve learned one thing from my list of stuff to do, I need to write less, publish more. :-)

        No, I’m keeping the moniker. I love it!!!

        Brian

      • Yes, I would love to read both of your works and if I can’t have your moniker or be your publisher at least step up to the round of golf, ok? Actually, I can play Disney for free so think about that sir……:).

  12. Bill ~
    I’m here, aren’t I? Alaska Chick’s Blog and I just had our third birthday! When I started, it was because I was told “you need to have a blog” ~ so I did. What I found was something amazing.
    I wrote a book, you may not have heard, and I am told that makes me a writer…. I dunno, I write, and intellectually, I see that as equaling a “writer.”
    What Ruth said above… about it (writing) keeping the insanity at bay… it certainly has been one huge gift and blessing after another, being a “reader” too. The connections and skills I have learned from so many different people, have changed how the world looks to me now (and you know that coming from me, that says a lot!) and the absolute joy of sharing Chisana with someone, even one who will never see it in person, is the ultimate root of every happiness I have felt.

    • Nuff said, then that’s plenty of reason. I was told you needed a blog too and somehow, someway I’m still plugging away like you.

      Writing does allow you to get deeper with your wishes, thoughts & dreams and it can keep the insanity at bay.

      I enjoy your frontier spirit and being able to share it with the masses; so good to see you Alaska Chickeeta…:).

  13. Writing keeps me out of mischief.

    I need to do more of it for sure to get better but if I didn’t I’d miss the research and making connections with people.

    If no-one came along to read, I’d still write. If that means there are no words, then I guess I could live with that.

    • It kept me out of mischief for awhile but now that the day job has me pretty occupied I have fallen back into some bad habits, mainly TV. Before, I was trolling blogs instead of TV time. Oh well, still trying to find that proper balance, but it is always moving.

      It also helps I have toned down my expectations somewhat and I’m just enjoying the journey; so let’s hang in there and keep writing for awhile, ok?

  14. I started writing about crap at first, feeling comfortable that nobody would read it. Then I kept writing and a funny thing happened…people started reading (I guess my crap wasn’t so crappy)….I suffer from performance anxiety…I think I’ll go back to writing about my cat ;)

    • Cat is good….I started writing about ‘stuff’ and still do to a certain degree. But like you, people started to show up so I had pay a little more attention.

      When I got off the hamster wheel it allowed me to step back and look at the platforms and see what was important and what was fluff. Most was fluff………at least to me, but I’m enjoying the journey so I think I’ll stick it out for now; how about you?

  15. If you go fast enough, you do not need to put the drain plug back in the boat. Problem is – you can’t stop, or you start taking on water.

    Perhaps some analogy to blogging there, huh?

  16. I think there is a lot of value in writing when no one reads, but I would also say that value is short term in nature. Over the long haul, I think eventually you have to be read. But who knows, JD Salinger kept writing in the last decades of his life and would not let anyone read it.

    • I guess if you are serious writer, writing helps you get better….I suppose to a certain degree, but if I had a bunch of manuscripts around nobody was going to read I might get bored eventually.

      Personally, I like the engagement and feedback; I’m a two-way communication kind of guy.

  17. Oh yeah, there will be horrible writers, mediocre writers and great writers. Just like in music we have boy bands and rock bands. But they all got their audience. I know about one lady who writes pure gossip and nothing else and her blog is rated 4/10 by google. So lot of people are not only commenting but also connecting to her. As for reader turning a writer why not? I used to listen to a lot of music and suddenly got an inspiration to play guitar. Then I got into company’s band and then did a small concert too. It took some time but I was there. Not successful but still :). We just need to find the right audience, even practically worthless stuff can be sold ;).

    Hope you are having a great day.

    • That’s cool you took the time to learn guitar. I tried to self-teach myself but saw how hard it was and gave it up after two weeks.

      The key is finding the right audience; you do that and everything else just falls into place.

      Good to see you sir.

  18. Bill,
    Don’t you think it depends on your topic? I.E. I have really gotten into Vince Flynn Books, I used to like Deaver so I thought I really need to take a Mitch Rapp break, so I downloaded 007 by Deaver in beween. All I could think about was why didn’t I just get the next Mitch Rapp book? See where I’m goin’ with this? It depends on what you have to say. If a tree falls in the forest will anyone be there to hear it? Not if it doesn’t have an audio about Mitch Rapp. BTW. I am finishing 007 by Jeffery Deaver but I downloaded the next Vince Flynn. ;)
    Keep talkin’ I’m listening.
    Susan Fox
    http://www.gagasgarden.com

    • Depends on depends then; you still want to be read, right? Some write for ‘therapy’ and if that’s the case maybe it doesn’t matter as much. But if nobody is reading it, are there really words? Hmmmm…..

  19. Great topic Bill and the way I see this is if you love to write then write. It’s just like you said about golf. If you love to golf then golf. If people show up to play a round with you or to watch your swing who cares. You do it because you love it.

    Now of course when we all blog we definitely would love for people to show up. I’m pretty sure that for those who are doing this for a business might think about changing their strategy if no one stopped by to read what they shared.

    I would much prefer my content being read even if it’s just by one person.

    Have a great weekend Bill.

    ~Adrienne

    • Yes, it depends on your purpose and if you are using a platform like this which lends itself to readers, then if no one showed up maybe you would have to re-think your purpose.

      I concur, I would prefer my content to be read by someone other than me.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • It’s just me with different accounts; makes it look like I have an audience. After all, I do have a reputation to uphold, right?

      Good to see you B, hope all is well.

  20. If we didn’t want someone to read it and interact with us, I think it would be kept private. On the other hand, if a tree falls in the forest is DOES make a sound. It’s a ripple calling out to someone else in the universe. Planets align more often than we might think. Your writing kind of reminds me of Bill Bryson in A Walk In The Woods.

    • Is the ripple like the butterfly effect? Sometimes the planet align and we don’t recognize it until it’s too late, huh?

      Bill Bryson; is he making any money doing this?……….:).

      Good to see you Julie, thanks for the visit.

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