Five Clues that You’re Writing for an Audience of One – You

We write for a lot of reasons – to entertain, to educate, to share our emotions – and for the most part writing is about communicating ideas between people. But sometimes we write for ourselves, to understand ourselves better or vent our feelings.

Both options are fine but if you’re looking to share or publish your work you need to know if you’re writing for an audience of many, or just for yourself.

Here’s 5 clues that you’re writing for yourself:

  1. You’ve written the first draft and you’re calling it quits.

No one’s first draft is perfect. No one’s. It takes time and effort to turn a first draft into something worth sharing with the world at large. If you’ve enjoyed the writing process and now you’re ready to move on to the next thing, that’s great. But accept that the only audience that work is fit for, is you.

 

  1. It begins with ‘Dear Diary…’

Diarising or journaling is great for getting in touch with your feelings, recording important events in your life and venting tension and stress. It’s also let’s you write without censoring yourself. But this very freedom is also what makes a diary or journal private. When you’re angry, upset or in love you are going to say things about other people that you don’t want them to know – things that might not even be true. And that’s fine. But for everyone’s sake, keep it under lock and key (or password protect).

 

  1. The main character is basically you…but more so.

I’ve read a lot of fiction written by teenagers which starred them, only without their name. I’ve also written this fiction myself, when I was a teenager. It’s basically a fantasy in which the gorgeous and super nice guy or girl in the school sees how beautiful and special the main character (i.e. you) is and falls in love despite the gorgeous but evil guy or girl (i.e. which ever popular person is making your life difficult) going out of their way to halt the progress of true love.

Go ahead and write these stories, they’re fun and everyone deserves a fantasy. And you’re right, you are awesome. But they often lack the depth that makes a good story because the protagonist is perfect in every way (because obviously, you are perfect in every way), and a perfect person has no reason to grow and change – which is what drives a story.

 

  1. You stood on a soapbox while writing.

You’ve got something to say. You’ve got opinions. You’ve got a message to get across. Great. But don’t turn your story into a vehicle for your message. A good story is driven by character and conflict, and while your personal feelings on an issue may naturally filter into your story, if you beat your reader over the head with a message, they’ll stop reading.

 

  1. You name names.

Don’t do it. Don’t say nasty things (or things that could be construed as nasty) about people unless they’re true and even then, even then, be sure that you’re willing to bring the wrath of those people down on you. Because while you might think that your neighbor is a puppy-drowning-cat-worshiper, if you write it down, show it to other people and he’s upset about it (although why would he be? Cats are awesome) then he could be within his rights to take legal action against you. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it under any circumstances. I’m say be careful and very, very, sure about what you’re saying. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

Everyone has an opinion

How to Tell People You Write…Without Blushing.

Do you tell people you write? That you’re a writer? That you’re an author, even?

Without blushing?

Well, then let the rest of us in on the secret! How do you own up to ‘being a writer’ without…well…this:

giphy (1)

I’m not good at it. This year my youngest will be starting school and people are full of advice and curiosity about what I’ll be doing with all my “free time”.

Pfft, as if.

The easiest and truest response would be to say that I’ll be working on my business, that of writing. But I don’t because quite frankly it makes me feel…like a fraud.

So, if you have the secret then be a mate and let the rest of us know what it is.

Taking a Break

Ugh. I’ve been all over the place with my poor blog in the last couple of months. It’s like a middle-child, loved but over-looked. Luckily it’s not a real child because that analogy is a bit depressing (I’m a middle-child myself). But seriously, my husband got very sick (not scary sick but still, really really sick), my youngest is readying himself to begin school next year and my eldest has been having a few small issues with a boy at school. So, I’ve been distracted.

With all this in mind I’m going to take my break early this year. I usually knock-off from the blog on December 1st and stay away until February 1st. Christmas and summer holidays coincide here, neither of which is conducive to productive writing. I’m stealing a few extra weeks.

So, until the New Year, I hope you stay safe and well. If you celebrate Christmas I hope it is a magical and peaceful time for you, if you don’t but you celebrate another religious festival I hope it is equally as wonderful for you. And if neither thing is your thing, I hope you just enjoy passing from one year to the next.

Next year I’ll be back with more writing tips, more two-sentence stories (of which I hope many will be yours) and more general chattery (which is not a word but I wish it was).

Lots of love,

Wendy.

Is There a Generation Gap? I Don’t Think So

 

I write for young adults. I do so partly because I have a background in high-school education (and so have spent a fair bit of time with young adults) and mostly because I think teenagers and young adults are wonderful. The vast majority of young people I have met are polite, funny, conscientious, caring and hard-working. So I’m always surprised when people tell me the youth of today are the devil. Continue reading

Click-bait

Click-bait

If I were a fish I would’ve been caught and released a thousand times. Or, God forbid, caught and cooked just once. When something tantalising is dangled in front of me, I can’t help snatching at it, so those links that appear in my browser with headlines like, ‘You won’t believe what she looks like now!’ or ‘How did they keep this secret for so long?’ are like the tastiest worms ever. Continue reading

The Unfriending

Social Media and I are not friends. I’ve tried. I’ve visited and kept up with Social Media’s interests and suggested activities we could do together but we just don’t click. Which is a problem. Because everyone else is clicking. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat and probably a hundred other avenues that I don’t even know about. Continue reading