Who Do We Write For? Ourselves or Others?
The two-fold question I've heard posed over and over again by authors on the web is: why do we write and who are we writing for? Are we writing because we're compelled to, whether anyone ever reads it or not? Or are we focused on an unseen audience of potential readers?
Obviously a question authors have always asked, but now it's different. Now we don't have to go through the gate-keepers of the publishing world and ask permission to play. All you need is a computer with internet access and you can write to your heart's content - write and be published. And that's what makes this question different than it's ever been. It's no longer reserved for the elite few chosen by agents and publishers. Everyone who sits down to post a comment, write an article, compose a blog or author a book is faced with this question - whether they realize it or not.
Why do you write? Who are you writing for?
We all know people who blog regularly that literally don't care if anyone else reads it, they just want to write! On the other hand, tens of thousands of books are given away every day because some authors are so intent on communicating their story to other people that they're happy to get it into a reader's hand even if they don't make a cent from their efforts.
We all have our own answer to the "why and who" question - here's mine.
I wrote my book because a voice was screaming inside of me: WRITE! Once I started, I couldn't stop. What a wonderful (and terrifying!) thing to discover at this phase of my Boomer existence: I'm a writer. As long as I'm allowed to continue breathing on this planet, I'll write. Proof positive? I'm writing this blog right now!
The real question for me is: would I have written my first book if I didn't think anyone else would ever read it? Yes. I had to write it.
So, was I writing it for myself? No. I was writing for others, especially other Boomer women who I thought might benefit from what I had experienced (and enjoy a good read at the same time!). That's what motivated me, what kept me at it day after day.
The fact is, I was writing because I missed touching other people's lives.
We all have a history that brings us to our computers every day with a story to tell. As a professional I went from being an ICU nurse (definitely touching lives there) to a documentary film editor (wild life films - people loved them!) to theatrical producer. That's where I got hooked on reaching out to an audience and seeing my work affect lives. I did that all over the world for fifteen years and when I had to walk away from it, the thing I missed the most was… yeah, there it is… touching other people's lives.
That's true, no doubt about it, but I've grown to understand that there's more to it for me.
Recently I ran into some personal snags, the kind that are always unexpected. I was sitting at my computer, staring out the window at the leaves blowing in the wind, contemplating my situation, emotionally exhausted. Then I saw a reflection in the window of something very comforting: a copy of my book. I opened it to a random spot and started reading. The words on the page instantly connected me to who I am and where I intend to go with my life. My own words touched me. I smiled as the cloud over my head lifted and I realized I was my own audience. I may have written it for others, but I had also written it for myself. And at just the right moment, it was there to remind me who I am.
I'm a writer. God help me!
About the Author
After years of producing Corporate Theatre for clients such as IBM and Coca-Cola, Marsha Roberts developed, produced and marketed Letters From The Front, the only professional theatrical production to tour military bases around the world. This heartfelt show touched hundreds of thousands of lives and toured stateside and abroad for fifteen years. The daunting process of getting this never-been-done-before production off the ground and onto a worldwide stage gave her a keen awareness of what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles and find the miraculous in the commonplace.
Her debut inspirational memoir, Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant, chronicles many of these experiences in what Kirkus Reviews called, "An optimistic look at the magic of life."
Marsha is happy to be known as the Mutinous Boomer and is currently writing her second book in that series.
Connect with Marsha