Who Do You Write For–Reader or Yourself?

I often ask the question in the title of this post in my presentations. After the deer-in-the-headlights look dissipates, I see smiles as audience members begin to think about their answers. One of our authors, Mark LeBlanc, says, “I believe in two right answers,” and in this case there are two right answers.

READER-BASED WRITING

You need to connect with your reader on some level. Here are the three best ways I know of to connect with readers.

  • Offer content that is satisfying and complete. By that, I mean content that doesn’t leave the reader scratching his or her head wondering what you’re writing about or trying to say.
  • Organize your writing so your reader can follow the flow. Use a structure that is appropriate. Genre fiction readers expect certain formulas, so give those formulas to them. Non-fiction readers expect to read about a concept, have the concept explained, then have it illustrated (typically with an example or story), and finally see the concept applied. So provide that structure.
  • Use effective expression in your writing. Expression deals with word choice, sentence structure, language use, etc.  Better to have readers comfortable reading you than to have them shocked or disgusted.

WRITER-BASED WRITING

You need to connect with yourself on some level as you write. If you’re not engaged in your writing, it will show and your reader will know. Here are the two ways I know of to write for yourself without excluding your reader.

  • Write about what interests you. When you care about your subject matter, you can’t help but put some energy into your writing because you’re excited about it. I’m not suggesting you go off a deep end or anything. I’m just saying to write about things that intrigue you or speak to you.
  • Consider writing as something that starts out physical and ends up as something  mental. By that I mean you, as writer, physically do your research, gather materials, then put pen to paper or hand to keyboard and begin the physical process of writing. You put words down in a physical form to share and you do that using the process that works for you. But when your reader reads your words, he or she absorbs them mentally and processes them that way too. You cannot control how your reader interprets your writing, but you can use your process to make it clear for the reader what your intention/meaning is in your writing.

So, who do you write for? I hope you live if a world of two right answers and say, “both reader and writer”!

Happy writing!

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2 Responses to “Who Do You Write For–Reader or Yourself?”


  1. 1 Sajib May 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I guess I’m the latter, although I get a little bit disappointed if I see nobody is reading me or commenting upon my posts, but I can still write without losing interest.

    • 2 expertbookpublishing May 19, 2011 at 8:10 am

      Oh my goodness, I hope I can encourage you to not get a little bit disappointed by others’ action (or lack of action). You’ll never know how some little thing you wrote (or said orally for that matter) impacts another person. Once something you’ve written is published (and blogs certainly count), your words are available for a long time. Your reader may not find you right away or may not make the effort to comment, as you did here, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t influencing that reader somehow.

      Who knows? What you write may be moving the reader into action you’re not even aware of. It may be inspiring the reader in ways you didn’t anticipate.

      Most of us don’t take the time to let someone else know we appreciate them or what they did or said. There was a time not so long ago when hand-written thank-you notes were the norm when someone gave you a gift or did something nice for you or hosted you in their home. Today? Not so much. But that doesn’t mean the recipient didn’t love the gift, appreciate the gesture, or enjoy your hospitality.

      Keep writing, for someone needs to read what you have to share!


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