By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer
Writing from the nooks and crannies again today since I’m still on the road. As I’ve been conducting meet-and-greets and interviews, the big question that keeps being asked is “who’s your reader?”
It’s a tricky business, focusing on who’s consuming your content rather than the content itself. On the other hand you are, hopefully, writing something that will be eventually read. In that vein, it’s important to have at least a vague notion of your audience. In fact, but dialing down the scope from “everyone” to “these certain few” you can actually end up with stronger, more disciplined content that ultimately ends up with a broad appeal.
I wear a lot of different writer’s hats. Sometimes I’m just a blogger. Or a poet. Or a technical writer. Sometimes I really am just writing for myself; working through an idea, challenge, or creative endeavor. As such, my potential readers are varied. But all of my writing informs and improves my overall output.
Law school may not seem to fit logically with narrative fiction, and yet I finished two screen plays while cramming for finals and getting lost in the stacks at the library. All that focus on cause and effect, on “if this, then that,” on convincing jurors and cajoling judges – it has all paid off in my writing, both professionally and personally. And believe me, whether your writing a Supreme Court brief or an opening argument, the practice of law is all about crafting content for a specific audience.
One final note. Giving some thought to who will ultimately read what you write can be an effective counterattack against writer’s block. When you don’t know how to proceed, ask yourself “what does my reader want to know?” What questions remain unanswered? What actions or events remain unexplained? What’s the next step your audience is anticipating?
Answering those questions can get you over the hump and back onto the page.
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