Who Are You Writing Your Words For?

I have been asking myself this question over and over again in the past few months. It isn’t because I have changed in any manner, which I have. Or that I have been writing so many more words than I ever did before, which is also true.

It is because I have to constantly remind myself of the fact that I am writing for myself, and myself alone. I am not writing for anyone else. No one else.

In a society and a culture and a life filled with approval-addiction, this constant reminder is absolutely necessary. It is so necessary, because I keep on slipping back into the need for approval over and over again, so much so that I want to get a tattoo on my knuckles saying, ‘Stop it, you approval-addict!’

Why does it matter, you ask?

As soon as I slip into needing approval for my writing, I stop writing from the heart.

If I am only writing for myself, an audience of one, I write purely and authentically. I don’t care if anyone on this planet will like what I write or not. I write because I have this incessant desire to share my words. It’s like this hurricane that is raging inside of me, and if I don’t give it the space and the words on paper, then it will eat me from the inside out, killing me in the process, leaving me a shell of a human being.

But the minute I create an audience of two or more, I am constantly thinking about what they are thinking about my writing. Do they like it? Why don’t they like it? What do they like about it? Why do they hate it so? What did I ever do to deserve this?

The turmoil created in my mind is filled with drama and intrigue.

Drama and intrigue has no place in a writer’s mind. Only on the page.

So I waste precious brain cells worrying about others, and if they would only click like on my page. Instead, I should be focusing my entire effort on writing, and writing some more, and writing so much more.

And in the process, becoming so good that they can’t ignore me, as Steve Martin says in the book of the same name.

So ask yourself the same question. If you are a writer, or if you are just writing, who are you writing for?

Who is the audience? Is it an audience of one or many?


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