Should We Write For Ourselves Or For Others?

By on December 12, 2017
Should We Write For Ourselves Or For Others? - Writer's

When it comes to writing there is a divide of opinion on lots of things, and one of the most conflicting pieces of advice we are given is to write to ourselves, but, at the same time, to always keep our reader in mind.

So when it comes to writing our novels, should we be writing for ourselves, or should we be writing for others?

It probably comes down to what your goals are:

Writing for yourself is:

Satisfying - If you aren’t putting any pressure on yourself to please anyone else, your writing can be so much more enjoyable. You can indulge in writing about whatever you want without feeling the readers watchful eyes upon you as you put down each new word!

Honest - If you are just writing for yourself you can be completely honest, and this can feel incredibly cathartic!

Easier - Let’s face it, writing without a reader in mind is always going to be easier. If you are not thinking about your audience, or where your book will ‘fit’ in the marketplace you don’t have to worry so much about whether anyone is going to like it!

Rewarding - Writing for yourself can be extremely rewarding. If your only goal is to get the story down, and if  you manage to do that then what else do you have to worry about?!

Writing for others is:

Skilled - writing a book that other people will enjoy takes considerable skill. You have to be dedicated to researching your audience and finding out what they want. Your reader will always be at the back of your mind, and their thoughts and feelings will influence the way you write.

A learning curve - writing for an audience doesn’t come naturally to many people. There is always more to learn, and sometimes you’ll get it wrong too - but that's OK!

More fruitful (probably) - when you write for others you are an entertainer and are offering something unique and beautiful to the world. If you write with a reader in mind, your book is more likely to become successful too.

At the end of the day if we want to gain a following and sell our books we cannot just ignore what the reader wants and expects from us. At the same time writing without remaining true to oneself and one's story could end up feeling immensely difficult and unrewarding, and therefore your writing may end up suffering as a consequence.

As the great Oscar Wilde said:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Writing for yourself isn’t selfish, the chances are if you have a burning desire to write a story you want to share with the world then that’s the story you’ll write! If you struggle against that you could end up finding the whole process very arduous and frustrating.

Getting the balance right so you invite the reader in to share that story and become immersed in that world is where your skill as a writer comes in. If you can do this then you’ll not only find the writing process more satisfying, you’ll also give your book the best chance of reaching those readers you want to share your story with.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *