The People We Write For

When I first started writing, stories that I wrote for myself or for my own eyes never got finished. If friends asked me to write a story for them, about them, or including some of their original characters, then I would gladly comply and actually finish the story.

Some writing advice books will tell you to have an “ideal reader” – a person you write for and who supports you. This person can be your mother, your best friend, your spouse… whoever. Sometimes the “ideal reader” can be a group of people – like a target audience or a class of people you would hope to influence. I like to think of this “ideal reader” as my muse.

When I’m writing for my muse(s), the words come a little easier. I have more motivation to finish the piece. It doesn’t feel like I’m just throwing words into the air and hoping they fall into the right place on the page. Words have more purpose when I write with somebody in mind.

But when it comes time for revision, the tough part is keeping our “ideal readers” separate from our inner editors. When I write for my muse(s) during the rough draft phase, I can usually shove my inner editor away into a corner of my brain. Then I let the editor back out when I’m ready to revise. I usually have a clearer view of what works and doesn’t work in the story and I am able to look beyond what my “ideal reader” might think.

So… do you write for yourself? For a certain person or audience? Feel free to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

17 thoughts on “The People We Write For

  1. In a sense, I write for myself, but I like to share my stories with the world. I say this because, when I write, I put certain things in a story because I think it’d be cool, not necessarily because I think other people will think it’s cool, though, because I think it’s cool, I naturally think other people will think it’s cool too. If that makes any sense, lol.

    I write about things that I’d like to see in stories that I haven’t seen other writers create, so instead of waiting for others to write a particular kind of story, why not write it myself?

    Nice post!

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    • That does make sense – it’s my mentality, too. If your “ideal reader” thinks something works or it’s cool, then chances are, others will like it too.

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  2. I write stories that I want to read, more than anything else (and it’s bit indecent how much I like going back and re-reading them). But I also write for my mother (not a great long-term strategy, I know, since she’s in her 90s). She has a wild sense of humor, and I occasionally throw in little things that I know she (and I) will find funny.

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    • I also like to re-read my own stories, especially if there’s humor involved. It’s lame, but there’s nothing like laughing at your own jokes. ๐Ÿ˜›

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      • Me, too. Your current prompt is “A book that makes you happy.” I want to post, “My book makes me happy!” but I expect that’s against the rules.

        So, I’m waiting to see what other people post before I stick my neck out. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Wonderful post, Maggie. I’m with you.

    When I write, it’s a partnership between me and my muse (the creative side of my brain). When I edit, it’s a partnership between me and my inner editor (the analytical side of my brain).

    Have a set “deadline” because someone is waiting to read our words definitely helps us bring projects to completion.

    Write on!

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  4. I think it’s important to know who will read your book so you can have a consistent tone and work within a genre. I think on the first draft you just let the writing flow, like your muse I guess but you have to refine it during revision and think about who would want to read it. Hopefully one day a lot of people will ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I normally write for a Christian audience but sometimes I do political pieces.

    I enjoy writing letters to the editor but the local paper does not have a website, so there is no comments section to discuss letter with.

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    • That’s annoying. You’d think the paper would have a website by now since nearly everything else does. And the whole point of a paper is to share community news, so why not put up a website and allow comments?

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