You gotta write for others.

I used to think writing was a personal thing. My thing. As long as I liked it, and had fun doing it, it was okay.

Wanderer above the sea of fog

“Wanderer above the sea of fog” by Caspar David Friedrich – The photographic reproduction was done by Cybershot800i. (Diff). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

But my thinking has changed. What is writing without a reader? At the end of the day, you’re writing for others. You’re writing for an audience. (Unless it’s your personal diary, of course.) Still, I would like Future Me to read back on my younger posts and not roll her eyes…too much.

It’s something we tend to forget. Us writers are introverted, self-centered bitches sometimes! We forget writing is about the People and for the People. If we want to be successful writers – people with a real positive influence and effect on society, which is what I think most of us strive to be – we need to remember our audience. They need to identify with something. Bond with something.

That’s why I started blogging, and started paying real attention to my blogging. If a post didn’t do so well, that probably meant people didn’t identify with it. 

For the most, writing is a lonely profession. I’m not saying it’s not okay to shut yourself up in your room and be in your own world. Some of my best writing I would never show a single soul unless posthumously, because some stuff is just too personal. I’m just saying we should remember our words are meant to be read. Eventually.

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5 thoughts on “You gotta write for others.

  1. Interesting, this reminds me of what someone said about ARCT:
    – If your end goal is to be a performer, take Performer’s.
    – If your end goal is to teach, take Performer’s.
    The logic behind it being that even if you’re teaching, you’re teaching your students to perform and therefore need to know how to perform yourself.

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  2. Pingback: Weekend Wrap-up: Waffles, Sexist YA Criticism, and Read Speed | breakfast with words

  3. Sidenote: reading old journal entries helps me step back and see myself as the world sees it. I both take material from it for stories, and also use it as a measuring stick. I work from a sliding scale of progression: first I write the journal, then I slowly go through layers of personal to less personal abstractions from it and then finally months later it becomes free of me and can be shaped into something else, influenced by what I’ve done since then. “I” lives in the conversation of the story that I wrote if you asked me; but the consciousness in the stories are someone else. If the consciousness of “you” is in the story and it isn’t about you then certainly, it’s not good; then it’s just a journal, so it’s an unworked, unprocessed and ultimately unprofessional thing. I’m interested to see what other’s processes are.

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  4. A bad writer writes things only a few people can relate too, and a good writer writes something that all of humanity can relate to. What a realization for a writer when all they are used to is writing for fun. You realize it’s not dependent on the subject, but how emotions, relationships are teased out so that even those who can’t identify with certain rituals or lifestyles or people can understand them and recognize that other people can understand it, too. I think this is the transition from writing as a hobby to turning writing into a platform for speaking, but I don’t know any people who start off first as platform speakers without passing through the selfish stage. You’re right: a self consciousness of audience is essential to the writing-well process: when you consider all the angles that readers might see this or that and how you might shape the prose so that everyone sees something, rather than leaving some readers out.

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