The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

Performing to a mirror

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Performing to a mirror

May 27, 2011 | content | 0 comments

Tommy Cooper once said that performing to a mirror focusses you on yourself, whereas performing to a blank wall focusses you on what you’re doing.

In blogging, performing to a mirror is focussing on yourself. You don’t engage in discussions outside of your own blog, you expect people to ‘come to you’, and most of all, you expect others to talk you up.  You perform to the mirror that is your own blog and feed into yourself more than you extend out.

In writing, performing to the mirror is your first draft.  Writers SHOULD perform to walls more than they perform to mirrors.  And sometimes those walls have doors in them, some open, some close, but mostly we perform to the blank space above and behind our monitors.  The monitor, is, at first at least, a mirror, but is also the audience – it’s your doorway to everything and everywhere.

Performing to the mirror is reassuring, like the first draft of a book – it’s not important if the quality is a bit lax, you’re enjoying seeing your own words in front of you.  The mirror is a carnival one that removes all blemishes and imperfections – you’ll smile at your work, thinking it’s the best thing ever.  It’s a love affair – most of us get giddy on that first draft – getting the idea down.  But for most of us, we have to move that mirror from that part of the wall, and perform again – edit, clean, tighten and share with others.

Sometimes it’s forgivable – if you’re shy, new to blogging or are building a singular platform that is *all you*.  Especially if you’re a writer – if you are a personality in your own right it’s ok to talk to yourself, others will pick up threads and join in anyway.  Kinda like a one man show.  People will still come and watch, whether you’re paying attention to them or not.

There’s a ‘but’ to this though – even performers know their audience – even performers know that they’re being watched – and it might look like they’re playing to themselves, but, in truth, they’re playing to the world.

Playing to the world takes courage.  It’s hard to perform to an audience that you don’t even know is there.  Performing to that blank wall is what most writers do.  We write knowing our topic, and sometimes we know our target audience, but most of the time, the majority of writers I know just *write*.  Those of us that blog, and perform outwards, we just write hoping to connect with *someone*.  And most of the time we do.

Forgetting, just for a minute, your target reader, can you write a blog post for the sake of it?  Can you show your passions?

Kai’s book, Glass Block, is due out in August

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