Technicalities of Writing · Writing Prompt Creations

Writing for Me? or Writing for You?

I am throwing the rule book out the window and forgetting my audience.

When I begin to develop a story, I often get stopped in my tracks by the thought whether what I’m developing is too much for the audience, whether I’m limiting my audience by my choice of what I include in the story, especially regarding adult content.

We are quite often told to write with our audience in mind, thinking about what the audience expects and wants to read. If you start out thinking that your story is clearly a picture book, then obviously it is important to keep in mind you are writing for very young children. At the same time if you are specifically wanting to write a story for adults, then once again the question is answered. However, what if your story begins without consideration of your audience. What if you have an idea and it grows without considering your audience?

Another piece of advice we quite often hear is “Write for yourself” or “Write what you want to read”, which is certainly great advice to keep you writing and motivated. This is the advice I often choose to follow above all other advice, simply because I cannot find a way to fit my ideas into boxes such as young adult or paranormal romance. I could just write for myself and then in the editing phase begin to think about who is the audience, apart from myself of course. I just end up worrying about having to kill my darlings, specifically my character’s journey or censor it, taking out a lot of the aspects that I find make my story so real and reflective of real life.

Is there a conclusion to be made from this? I don’t think so. Once again I feel that I am throwing the rule book out of the window and forgetting my audience. Who knows if this is the right choice for me. I will let you know, if I have any insights into this conundrum, or perhaps you will enlighten me? But for now, I shall just write for myself, with absolutely no regard for what is right and what is inappropriate for my readers.

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6 thoughts on “Writing for Me? or Writing for You?

  1. It is confusing. I think the rules are mostly guidelines to help structure what a writer produces. I think you have to find the happy middle between pleasing the audience and yourself.

    1. Hi again! I thought of your blog post after rereading this quote I highlighted on blog so I thought it best to share it with you.

      “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

      —Cyril Connolly, an English literary critic and writer

      1. Brilliant quote, which I feel myself agreeing with. Otherwise writing becomes more of a chore than a delight.

  2. This dilemma is a much-pondered question. But I honestly believe when it comes to creative writing: “To thine own self be true”. As writers, it’s vital to find your own voice, your own areas of interest and themes that connect you to your own creative integrity. And that requires much inner listening, rather than outward focus. Once you find this, you will often also find genres your writing falls into, and certainly from there, it is easier to have some sense of who you are writing for.When you speak of “audience”, I’m tempted to say: “Which person?” Audiences are not singular or homogenous; they’re made up of individuals.To focus on what this unknown thing “the audience” wants at this point is to fragment and split yourself. Find your voice. Craft it.People are drawn to unique, clear creative voices. And then those individuals who resonate within similar fields of inquiry, ideas, and genres will find you.

    1. The question of who is a major one, when it comes to audience. I feel much writing advice forgets that people are so varied, it is difficult to anticipate who would like what, or to put people into easy clear boxes.

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