The more I grow as a writer, the more commonalities I see between each and every form of writing I come across. Not that I always believed that. At quite a young age I decided I was going to become a writer—regardless of any other jobs or careers I might find myself in at some point, writing was the end game. If you were to ask me when I made that decision if I was going to try my hand at any other type of writing, like blogging, nonfiction, or technical, I would have scoffed. With a great deal of attitude. I wanted to write fiction, and fiction only, because everything else was boring.
Now, older and wiser, I appreciate the tenacious attitude that spurred me to do many things, but I have to belly laugh at my naivety. Yes, fiction writing it still the end goal, but I find that I rather enjoy all of the other writing I’ve been exposed to over the past decade.
University exposed me to the art form of essay writing. Yes, nerd alert, but I love writing essays. I love analyzing a piece, cultivating an argument, accumulating evidence, and then arguing my case. Setting up this website exposed me to the world of niche blogging and writing specific content to a specific audience. Despite time constraints and the occasional lack of ideas, I adore writing for Anxiety Ink. It keeps me focused on why I write and the aspects of writing that keep me writing. Now, being exposed to the world of “professional” writing, I’m learning to appreciate all of the things that tie writing together, namely audience and persuasion.
No matter what you’re writing, you’re writing to an audience; in fact, it’s usually a very specific audience. I’m not going to address the readers of my university essays the same, or with the same language, as I do readers here or of my fiction, and vice versa. I’d get a lot of raised eyebrows if I started doing so, and then my audience members would quickly disperse.
Voice, intention, details, and all the little bits that make up writing are all dependent on the audience. Sure, I, as the writer, get some say but at the end of the day it’s the readers that make the final decision. I have to write for them or I’m pretty much writing for air.
Persuasion, though, is slightly more complicated. I debated bringing it up in this post, but I think it’s relevant. In terms of audience, no matter what I’m producing, I am essentially persuading someone somewhere to read my work and act on it. Depending on what it is, each piece is going to have a different call to action. With my stories, I’m hoping to entice readers to read more of my work and share it with their friends. With my posts, I’m hoping to produce something that will resonate with other writers so that they either take from it, are able to share something with me in turn, or are willing to share it with like-minded individuals.
Like I said in my opening, the more I learn about the craft the more I’m able to see the little branches that connect all forms of writing together. My strengths lie in certain areas and I have weaknesses in others but being able to bridge concepts allows me to develop greater skills and increase my confidence. Keeping all of this in mind helps me write better, and with better intention.
What do you think? Do you write with your audience in mind at all times? Do you think you’re good at persuading people with your words? Do you agree with me?