Who is your audience?
It’s a question every creator is forced to consider at some point. Who are you creating for?
As a writer, it’s a question I’ve struggled with answering. Beyond school assignments and research papers in which you’re writing for a clear-cut audience of instructors and/or peers, how do you know who your audience is until you have one?
Does every writer and creator produce something by thinking of a specific group of people who will appreciate it?
As an author, I don’t write with a specific audience in mind.
To clarify: I don’t consider demographics like the age, sex, economic or ethnic background of my readers when I’m composing a piece.
Yet, as someone who received formal education in creative writing, not taking audience into consideration before/during the writing process goes against what we are taught.
You’re supposed to pigeon-hole your audience before writing because it allows you determine how to shape your work. In other words, it plays a heavy hand in whether or not you should use certain jargon and language, if your content will even relate or be useful to those reading it, and so on. By understanding who you are writing for, you can better anticipate how your work will be interpreted and if it’s message will be successfully sold (in the literal and figurative sense) to your readers.
But here’s the thing: I want the whole world as my audience.
Or as much of the world as I can manage to hook. Now that I’ve actually typed that sentence out, it sounds a lot more egotistical outside of my head. But I’m not looking for worldwide fame or popularity or adoration.
I’m looking for writing that’s capable of vibing and making a connection with just about anyone who reads it. I don’t want to narrow my audience down to a limited selection of who I think my writing will appeal to most, just because that might make marketing and promoting my work easier.
Of course, aiming to write for a universal audience and actually hitting that goal are two very different things.
But I know this much is true: writing is a reflection of your experiences in life. That being said, as humans I believe we all have universal experiences shared between us: feeling loss, the pain and joy of firsts, and facing the fear of not knowing what’s to come. That’s only mentioning a few.
I want to tap into that universal language of experience with my writing.
Like every writer, my first audience was myself. I wrote for me, then it became about something much larger than myself. Now I want to write for anyone who wants to pull whatever they need from the words, especially if that’s the feeling of solidarity in knowing we aren’t ever as alone as we might think.
So, the big question: Who am I writing for? The not-so-small answer: I’m writing for the world, which includes you and me, she and him, and even them.