We know that to get published we need to write something that will be of interest to a specific readership. However, as writers, we also need to satisfy our own needs: to enjoy the process of creating something.
When we start out as writers, it’s our own enjoyment of the creative process that dominates, which makes it’s easy to forget who we’re writing our words for.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with writing for yourself; that’s why people keep diaries. But to be published, it’s important that you recognise you will not be the only reader of what you are writing.
If you’re struggling with this process, of writing for others, here’s a three step technique to help turn your writing around.
Step 1: Write what you want. Sit down and write. Just enjoy the creative process. Write to please yourself and say what you want to say. Write for yourself, first.
Step 2: Print out a copy of your text (keep a copy of your original draft), and go through it, line by line, asking the following questions: Will my target reader need to know this? Will my target reader want to know this? (Think about who your reader is, having undertaken your market analysis.) Delete anything that does not meet these criteria.
Step 3: Now review your reader’s draft to make sure that it flows and is cohesive. Having deleted some text, you may need to insert some linking phrases and sentences. Then compare the two pieces side-by-side. What difference do you notice?
There may be a lot of commonality between the two pieces, although, hopefully, you’ll find that the emphasis has changed. Your second piece is less-likely to be self-indulgent. It will still be informative, and could still reflect your own personal experiences, depending on your subject matter, but it will be more engaging for the target reader.
If you satisfy the objective of writing for yourself first, you may find being more objective about your text for the reader is then much easier. So enjoy the dual objective of writing, but don’t forget to submit your reader piece, when you’re happy with it!