Not long ago in my writing career, my readership reached an all-time low. It was a pretty drastic drop. My writing was inconsistent, and so were my topics. I wasn’t giving anyone a reason to follow me. But even without the readers, I still had an urge to write.
It was then I made the mistake of making my writing about myself.
As writers and artists, it’s imperative to not allow reviews, sales, or the number of followers we have determine our value as creators. If you give something outside of your control so much power, your life can become an insufferable rollercoaster of highs and lows. If a single poor review or comment has the power to ruin your urge to write, your pride will eventually end your writing altogether.
However, what many writers do in response is to embrace writing for the sake of writing. We subtly and rebelliously turn writing into our own selfish release of the “artist inside of us.” This clichéd, starving-artist mentality is not the answer, either.
It’s the responsibility of talented writers to use their gift as a gift to others. We don’t write for the approval of our readers, but we do write for our readers. We challenge and inspire. The more we become servants of our craft, the more successful we’re likely to become.
Three Ways to Your Writing About Your Reader
Here are three ways to write for your reader:
1. Write with your Reader in Mind
If you’re writing from personal experience, are you bringing something to the reader besides a cool story? It should encourage, challenge, or inspire your reader. It should move your audience forward in some way. One way to do this is to think of a specific person, like a friend of family member. Write like they’re the only person that will read your writing. What do you want them to take away?
2. Make it relational
Reach out to your audience. Be personal. Get to know the people that consistently encourage you or comment on your writing. There’s a reason that a writer’s first followers are their friends and family, so it’s a good idea to make more friends!
3. Be Thankful
Your readers are your support group. They have millions of options for writers they could follow, and they chose you. And, more importantly, they could stop choosing you at any moment. So be thankful, and let them know you appreciate them.
Remember, you’re not writing for the approval of your readers, you’re writing for your readers. (Tweet that?)
Picture one of your readers in your mind. Then, write for him or her.
Write for fifteen minutes. When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please be sure to give feedback to a few other readers.
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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