Forum Friday: Who do you write for?

I don’t just mean target audience (though feel free to include that in your answer); I mean, when you pick up a pen or open Word and start typing your chapter or story, is there a specific person you’re writing to?

Many writers talk about writing for someone specifically within their target audience. Stephen King writes with his wife in mind (see my post on 11/22/63, and how he tests his work by seeing if she laughs when she reads his manuscript); Marianne Curley (Guardians of Time trilogy) said she writes for her kids, and that they are her foremost critics; many writers cite a close friend or significant other, who may or may not be within their target demographic.

But what about you?

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24 thoughts on “Forum Friday: Who do you write for?

  1. Purely for me. Unless I’m some weird twisted freakish creation of the universe then I’m sure there are others out there like me who would enjoy what I would write. Therefore, I write for myself knowing that it’ll find it’s target audience by itself.

  2. I also write to myself, and to my sisters and close friends. If it gets the response from them I’m aiming for then I’m satisfied, especially if I make them laugh.

    • Well said. I think it’s a good sign when our writing elicits a physical response from people– and there’s nothing like laughter for validation and a sense of accomplishment 🙂

  3. I’d like to say I write to my partners and friends, which I do, but also … for someone like me out there, struggling with questions like mine and learning more about themselves and the world in the process. 😉

  4. I’m not sure I write for any particular person as such.

    But I do remember censoring myself through an image of my father riding on my shoulders like the Old man of the Sea from Sinbad the Sailor in my early days of writing. I was in the middle of describing a fairly light sex scene. Made me sit up and decide I wasn’t having any of it. So I banished thoughts of him from entering my mind while working forever.

  5. I proceed on the basis that, if I’m enjoying the writing process then that enjoyment will come through in the story. But no, I’ve never considered a target audience and I know most authors would gasp at such naivety.
    What about ‘Shifters’ Julie, YA 18-30?

    • I applaud this basis and I hardly think it naive (see Jake’s comment above)! Writing for yourself may make a book more difficult to market when it comes to it, but enjoying the work is important, too– and I think you hit the nail on the head with the golden rule: if it’s fun to write, it’ll be fun to read (or at least the right readers will think so)!

      You also pretty much picked out just the audience I had in mind for Shifters. I did not know this when I started writing it, or even into the fourth and fifth and sixth drafts of it, but ‘New Adult’ (an age range that various sources put at something between 18-25 or 21-35) seems to be gaining popularity as a genre group these days.

  6. I use to write because of Matt. He was the first guy I fell in love with and writing happened because of him, because I needing a coping mechanism. Anyways, throughout the years writing became my passion. I wanted to become a well-known authors and have him just one day walk into a library or book store and see my name on a book and he’d remember and he’d find me. And yeah…it’s incredibly cheesy, Julie.

    You could totally ignore this, but that’s who I wrote for. Now…I’ve kind of let go of Matt and I feel like…well, there’s no inspiration. No drive. But I shall find it soon. Hopefully!

    • Emma! Your comments always make me smile. ‘Cheesy’ might be how it feels to write about a guy, but it is not as cheesy as it sounds– especially when there are trials surrounding the relationship with said guy. Pain, and even pleasure– and especially the two intertwined– can translate into some of the most poignant poetry and prose there is.

      Believe me, you will find new inspiration elsewhere…and not always attached to a guy! 🙂 Just keep writing and you’ll be amazed at what comes up!

      • ….and your advice always makes me feel better! 🙂

        That comment was like baring my soul to the world! Thanks, Julie. You are the BEST! ❤

        *patiently awaits said inspiration to bloom*

        • Glad to hear it, Emma. You’re a wise woman– patience is a virtue all writers must practice! (And a little daily puttering about the garden, if we’re working the ‘blooming things’ metaphor, never hurt a writer either! But I think you’ve got that covered.)

  7. I start off writing for myself in the first drafts and then as I reread what I just wrote, start thinking about what audience would find this interesting, then I begin rewriting it again with more focus. My test subject usually is my husband though. He has Add sometimes, soooo if he remains interested in my prose I’m doing a half decent job at least:-)

    • Nikki, that sounds like a great system! I like the idea of writing for yourself first, then stepping back and evaluating and reworking. Perspective can do wonders! AND you have the faithful test subject 😉 Good combination.

  8. I write for everyone else. It’s what keeps me writing. I mentioned before (and even wrote a blog post) on how I’ve received a few emails from readers of my first book with very heart-felt stories of what they’ve dealt with in their life. I write all the things that are on the outskirts of fiction, the things we never get to see or hardly see because there is so little of it out there. Because everyone should have a story they can relate to, everyone should be able to say… yeah that character is me, or that is exactly what happened in my life!

    And not everyone can.

    • Jordan, remembering some of your previous posts, I get the impression that you are all about your readers. It is still so awe-inspiring to me that you have received gratitude and real stories from readers who identify with characters in your books (or else simply enjoyed them)!

      Writing for that collective audience is a noble endeavor, and it seems like the kind of motivation that will never run dry.

  9. when I write about politics I think, is my dad gonna like it, when I write about psychological issues I think, is my mom gonna like it, and when I write about civil rights I think, is my sister gonna like it… when I write about love, I only think about the subject matter and nothing else.

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