What’s up, my writing friends?
So, now you’ve gotten a consistent writing schedule down. Or maybe you’re still working on it, and that’s cool too. I definitely am still working on it; I feel like my writing consistency changes every week, depending on what’s happening in my life. Still working towards it. But I just keep writing, and I hope you are too.
Now, let’s talk about our audience…
Who are You Writing For?
My stepdad asked me this question last summer, and it was one of the main things that pushed me into my personal commitment to “just start writing” every day. And I encourage you to ask yourself the same thing: Who are you writing for?
In other words, think about your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Is it specific (young adult women), or is it just the general public? Whatever you’re writing, it is directed at someone, and you have to know who that someone is.
Me, Myself, and I
For me, I was torn between writing for myself and writing for others. I liked writing for myself in journals, and even my blog posts were more for my personal satisfaction and thought process than the approval of other people. For a long time, I never shared the posts I wrote; I kept them to myself as a sort of document of accomplishment that I actually was active on my blog (even if it had been a few months).
And it’s okay to write for yourself, especially if writing is your newly found love! Writing for yourself is a good way to ease into the writing world; to get comfortable with your own voice, your own writing rhythm. Journaling is the best form of this (or, doing what I did, and writing blog posts, but never telling anyone you had a blog, or never sharing the link to those posts you wrote).
Once you’ve experimented with your writing on your own, you could get comfortable enough to share your writing with others.
Him, Her, Us, Them
So, if you’re going to start directing your writing to other people, who are they? Men, women, both? How old are they? These are just a few questions to think about in regards to your specific audience.
I personally think it is good to start out with just the general public as the audience of your writing, especially if you don’t know the answers to the specific audience questions. As you write for the general audience, your writing will mature more, and you’ll begin to understand where your niche is in the writing world along with who you’re directing that writing to.
I do want to encourage you to stay true to your writing style and rhythm even though you’re transferring from writing for yourself to writing to/for other people. As a writer myself, I am often tempted to worry and stress over what my audience will think if I write a certain way, or if my topic is too boring or direct. Do not change the way you write when you initially begin writing to an outside audience because you never know how they’ll receive it. Be brave; test the waters, and see how they’ll react to your words!
That Being Said…
…it’s important to see and understand the signs of unsuccessful writing (and yes, it’s okay to not succeed, we don’t just become amazing writers after writing a few good pieces!), or even choosing the wrong audience for your writing.
You may start off writing fiction pieces for young adults, and realize you’re more of a suspense/mystery writer for adults. Or, you may start out hating poetry, writing things for the lifestyle genre, and then circling back to poetry and really finding your place there. Your writing could go in a number of places, and it doesn’t need to just be one specific genre either (content will be next month’s #JSW topic!).
But don’t quickly change your audience just because you aren’t getting any positive feedback, or any feedback at all! Give your writing some time; if after maybe a few months of writing, your audience is staying silent, maybe then you should figure out what it is you should change, be it your writing style, audience, etc.
Your audience is another crucial key to your writing, whether it is yourself or others. Be sure to keep them in mind as you write; you want to make sure that you grab and keep the interest of your audience with your writing. Understanding the input of your audience can truly shape the direction of your writing, and I hope you find your sweet spot, and that you’re one step closer to truly defining what your writing is.