Perhaps some of you wondered why this post was labeled "v1.0" ... here's the answer.
There's another way of interpreting "writing blind" beyond an awareness of the audience—awareness of the plot.
If you've been hanging around online writers' communities, you're probably familiar with the terms planner and pantser. It's not so much "either-or" as it is a spectrum. On the extreme planner end you have writers who outline chapter by chapter, construct copious background notes, and have everything clearly laid out before they write the first scene. On the other end, you have writers who truly fly by the seat of their pants. They sit down with just the barest seed of an idea—maybe the main character, or a slice of a premise—and start writing.
At that extreme pantser end of things, we run the risk of writing blind. Having no idea where the plot is going, and thus writing scenes that go nowhere.
Even at that extreme, this pitfall is still only potential. If we recognize that major editing will be required after the first draft, once the story has found its shape, it can work out just fine. But there's a key:
Somewhere along the way, we're not writing blind anymore.
At some point, we have to figure out where we're going. Otherwise, we're going to end up with 200k words of episodic scenes and no end in sight. Characters may still throw curve-balls, unexpected twists may emerge, changes may be required. That's all okay and part of the fun. But we need to get a bead on the main conflict and resolving it.
Of course, being a super-extreme planner ... well, that's another potential pitfall.
All you pantsers out there, what methods do you apply to your madness? What's your editing process like once the first draft is done?