There is a stark difference between writing with the public in mind and writing with a public in mind. The difference centers on intention.
The first aims at form, grace, and intelligibility through honesty; the other at store windows and ingratiation. The latter is characterized by half-truth and frills. Honesty is just an embellishment, bled and dessicated by Ego for display.
Ego serves up honesty with all the flaccid pomp of a luxury item: preserved, waxed and laid out with every inducement calculated to attract a “target persona.” Marketers know this word well. Bloggers do too. And they both also know that no matter how many likes, shares, or comments they receive, Ego will never be satisfied.
As a writer who blogs, I am tragically captivated by the theatrics of Ego. The colorful repertory houses props collected throughout the years. The desire for fame and recognition is the costume of choice, painted with the greed of my ancestors and flecked with gems hewn from ancient quarries filled with their failures.
I’ve grown to accept that there is nothing wrong with writing for commercial ends—except when I give my honesty to a glam bitch. Then I sacrifice my craft. At times, Ego-drunk and mesmerized, I have fallen from writing for the public into writing for a public. Lost. Dispersed. Thin and ephemeral. Perfunctory. I’ve put words on the page done up with guile and subterfuge, and bloated with the hope of validation. Those indulgent words still weigh heavy on me today.
The paradox is that writing is inespably public. No matter how far away you isolate yourself, there’s always an audience. That doesn’t trouble me. But I’ve done many a regrettable thing cajoled by Ego. And I have written many a regrettable word. That troubles me.