Who Do You Write For?

When you are writing, do you think about who you are writing the story for?

And does it vary according to the story? I find that it does for me.

Right now I’m working on a story that has been evolving for a few years. I feel like I am writing it completely for my own enjoyment. When I get it done I’ll be curious to see if I want anyone else to read it and if so, will it resonate for that person? If not, that’s okay because this is a self-indulgent story.

I’ve written other stories that just have to be written and quite frankly, sometimes don’t even feel like they are my words or my kind of story. Those are the ones I like to share and hope they were written for others to enjoy.

I have read that some authors write while thinking of a specific person or a kind of audience that will read the story they are writing. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that except in a very loose way like maybe and age group. I think that would be very intimidating and I’d be afraid that it would interfere with my creativity.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve been influenced by a certain person and a story idea will grow from that. Sometimes I want that person to read it and other times I wouldn’t dare show it to them or let on that it had anything to do with them.

Have you written something that you felt was so strong and said so much only to have someone not get it at all? That can hurt. I had that happen in a class once and the teacher completely missed the point. Luckily a fellow student spoke up defending my story and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized that it wasn’t the story but the reader. And we have no control over a reader.

That also happened in a writing group but it wasn’t so traumatic because I knew the members of the group well and expected some of them to not get it. I enjoyed the discussion that followed on the different interpretations of my poem. That was a good lesson of not having any control over the reader.

There are various quotes from famous authors saying something to the effect that while you are the author of the story it belongs to you but when you send it out into the world you truly have to let go of it because then it belongs each reader.

That’s why I’m curious as to whether you write with a specific person in mind and if so, do you let that person read it? I would think that would be the ultimate act of bravery in putting your words out there. I think it could be terrifying. It could also be exhilarating.

For the most part, I think that’s why I write for myself. Then, if I’m feeling really brave, I’ll share it. And if the reader gets what I was trying to say, then that is just the best. Isn’t that what all authors dream about? Finding common ground? Feeling that we all share that experience and we aren’t alone?