Someone asked me who I had in mind when I wrote – and I had no answer.
I know that some people read what I write – whether blog posts or articles or books. But I really have no idea who they are. I find I constantly misjudge what I think people may like to read. I find there is no correlation between pieces I am pleased with and proud of and the pieces that arouse the greatest interest. Some writings which I think are trivial get thousands of readers and other essays which I think contain a few real insights struggle to get up to readers in double figures.
I certainly imagine how certain types of readers may assess what I write while I am writing. But while that may lead to a reformulation of something I wish to say, a choice of different language, it rarely leads to any substantive change. Changes, when they occur during the writing, are due to the writing process itself. In fact, I find my position or viewpoint changes as I write. Ideas which were diffuse or thoughts which were incomplete coalesce and become conclusions during the process.
The satisfaction of writing comes primarily in completing the essay or article or blog post. It is of interest and gratifying when some piece attracts many readers, but that gratification is often negated when the readership does not match my own view of the quality of the piece. When some essay that I am quite pleased with also attracts many readers, then it is just a bonus. But even that gratification does not compare with the satisfaction of completing even a rarely read essay.
The writing process itself, for me, contains much reading and much thinking. I take positions and then start reading what others have written on the subject. I start writing something and then go into a bout of reading which means that essay may not be completed for many weeks or even months. I make assertions which I then feel obliged to fact-check and to reanalyse. The satisfaction of completing something increases with the effort expended.
The real answer, I suppose, is that I write for myself. I have some readers but I have no targeted audience.