I recently went to a writer’s conference, and I sat in quite a few panels and classes. At one panel, we were told all about figuring out your audience and being aware of them as you write and market a book. At the next panel, we were told to be ourselves and to not worry too much about what other people think.
So do I write to an audience? Do I need to figure out who I am writing to? Do I need to change and tailor my words to fit into genre conventions?
Or do I write what I find fascinating? Do I just put myself out there and see who wants to listen? Do I write trying to create art instead of trying to sell books?
I don’t think I have answers to all of those questions. For a long time, I hated thinking about my audience. I just wrote. And to be honest, no one listened.
I’ve been trying to write more, but I’m writing again because I want to connect with other people. I don’t write a story down just because it’s a good story. I write it because I want to share it.
I can be myself, be genuine, and not really care what other people think. I don’t perform for an audience; but I do present myself to them.
I don’t need to change who I am and what I write to fit into conventions and to satisfy an audience. I don’t want to write for others as much as I want to write to others, connecting with an audience who may be interested in what I have to say.
Who is listening?