Transcript: Blogging (Part 14): Writing for yourself and writing for others

Posted: - Modified: | blogging, tips, writing

Hat-tip to Holly Tse for organizing this interview!

Holly Tse: You mentioned you’re writing to share with other people, but you’re also writing for yourself. What’s the kind of balance there…

Sacha Chua: In terms of the stuff I post, a lot of it is for me. A lot of the things I publish on my blog are there because I want to look back at this forty, fifty, sixty years from now, and I want to be able to remember bits and pieces and build on the ideas I had before. A lot of this is me. Some of it is answering other people’s questions, or putting things out there just in case it will help somebody searching sometime later.

There’s some public stuff on my blog, but there are also bits and pieces that are a bit rough right now, or that need some filling in, or that are incomplete and need some thinking about, or that are simply private because I haven’t figured out a way… Even if you’ve got a publicly okay version of the story, there are all these interesting bits and pieces that nobody would quite figure out, and there are all these stories I wanted to tell first. So I have these private notes too. I don’t have quotas for any of them. I write in the process of figuring things out, and then I figure out what’s the widest group I can share this with.

In fact, my mom used to tell me to e-mail her more often, and I was thinking, well, most of the stories that I’d probably e-mail in a family update are things I feel comfortable sharing on my blog. Again, that push towards sharing things as widely as possible… You never know what kinds of ripples they’ll trigger, what kinds of things you’ll learn from other people. Don’t worry too much about balance. Write. Post as much as you feel comfortable with. Feel free to keep private notes. That works too, especially if that helps you remember and understand things. Have fun.

HT: You must get a quite a number of comments on your blog. Do you answer all the comments? What’s your opinion on comment etiquette?

SC: I do try to answer most of my comments, but what I really really like is when people start answering each other in comments. That’s where I get to learn something extra new. When people comment with a question, one of the great things about that… If people e-mail me, I’m the only one who gets to see that, unless I post it to my blog afterwards. When people leave a comment on my blog–maybe they’re asking a question or sharing an insight, and sometimes that doesn’t require a response, such as when they’re sharing a story–and it prompts somebody else to respond to them, then we all win. That’s something I would never have thought of, it’s outside my experience, and yet I get to learn from it because I’m listening in on this conversation, and other people are too. I really like comments.

I would love it if people kept commenting–and people do. They comment about the most surprising things, even. I’d write about something like burning my pancakes, and I’d get all these comments, including lots of tips on how not to burn pancakes. It’s surprising to see what people resonate with and what people leave comments on. I’m so glad that facility is there. If it were just me talking at people, broadcasting, I’d be limited to what I know. If it’s just me replying to people’s questions, then they’re just limited to what I know. When the conversation is in comments, then everybody can see everybody else. Even better when it’s on other people’s blog posts that link to mine… The conversation does get a little bit harder to track, but it’s so awesome. Then you get to see people’s thoughts in depth.

For example, I’m going to post notes of this on my blog. After the teleconference, you can go to If you search for lotus blossoming summit or if you look in my blogging category, you’ll find notes like this, and you can go through what other people have said. Or, ideally, if you’re going to write your own stuff, you can link to it. Then I can find your blog post or you can tell me, and I can respond to that too. There are all sorts of conversations going on at all sorts of levels.

HT: So that’s

SC: That’s an easier to remember domain name. My name is harder to spell for most people. If you want to go to that too –

HT: . It’s also on the Lotus Blossoming telesummit site.

SC: You can follow me on Twitter, too.


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