Writers write because we love it, because we can help it, we write for pleasure and to relieve the pressure, we write for ourselves but, in the end, we expect others to read what we write. We want some echo.
Have you ever written an article or a post and got no response from any reader? I have. I know that cricketing sound, the tumbleweeds roll-roll-rolling in the empty halls of my head when I get no comments and no feedback. When there’s no echo, even lack of self-confidence might come creeping and crawling: “Am I a good writer? Do I have what it takes to keep on blogging, pitching my stories?” We have all felt this way.
We all want to be read, we want to know that our thoughts, our stories have an impact on somebody else, that there’s people out there who like our style, our voice and our words, and that’s that. We get no echo and we start to feel uneasy. It’s natural, but it shouldn’t be that way.
The “pleasing” game
There’s a lot of information out there advising creative writers to use all the tricks and shortcuts that the advertising and marketing industries have developed: visualize your audience, pick up a single reader, stick a photograph of your “ideal reader” to the wall, know him inside out…All very well when you’re a copywriter but creative writers have no such thing as an “Audience”.
Out there, there’re a lot of different people, with different moods and tastes. People who might love our novels and dislike our short stories, people who’ll enthusiastically comment on our posts about healthy eating and ignore our articles about meditation.
We, creative writers, have no “Audience”: we have readers, we have editors and publishers, all of them whimsy and unpredictable – just as we are. We don’t have to please them at any cost…we have to entertain them.
If we try to guess what this or that reader or publisher would rather read, we’re in for a big disappointment. They don’t know what they want to read until they read it. Just like us.
Whom are you writing for?
This a basic question with a simple, basic answer: writers write, first and foremost, for ourselves. To increase our chances of being heard and cause echo – and no crickets – when we put our article or story out there, we’re the ones to please, to convince and to entertain.
Successful writing is a socially accepted act of egotism. We write what we want to read, it’s all about ourselves. There’s nothing like writing about a topic we love: we lose track of time, we immerse ourselves in our thoughts and our writing goes forward much like a good skier descends a slope: with balance, grace and ease.
Relax, then, and say what you want to say. Be clear, be precise, be accurate and, most of all, be yourself. Whether you’re writing a fantasy-fiction story or an article about poisoning mushrooms, you’re the one to please. If you feel satisfied, there’ll be readers who’ll read you with pleasure. There’ll be others who’ll think you’re a bore, sure, but, who cares about them? They won’t buy your books, anyway.
Featured image by Miroslav Sunjick: https://miroslavpencildrawing.wordpress.com