Who do you write for?
A gentleman in my writing group who’s in his early seventies and new to writing, said his poems were simple and seemed embarrassed to read them out loud. He also said, sadly, that he could no longer sing because he has a voice box tremor. So, other members of the group asked him, “Who do you want to write and sing for?”
“Myself,” he replied.
We told him if you are happy with what you are doing, who cares what others think? (By the way, his poems were lovely.)
In his book “On Writing,” Stephen King says that he writes with someone in mind. This is wonderful advice because you will accomplish more than you ever thought possible because you can’t wait to share it with them.
I’m a grandmother of three, but because I’m not the knitting kind of grandmother, I decided to write books in which my granddaughters are the main characters. Thank goodness they have lovely names like Scarlet, Lalya, and Rowen which lend themselves easily to picture books and fairytales. I hope in this way to leave a legacy for them and when their old enough (at this writing all are under age three) I fervently hope they will enjoy reading the stories.
So yes, I write books for them, but ultimately I write for myself. Does it sound right to my ear? Does it flow? Does it sound honest? Can I be proud of it? But most importantly, did I enjoy doing it?
Recently I wrote a short horror story where the main character (a serial killer) was sent to hell. I sent a copy of it to my father (also a writer), and after reading it he emailed me back saying “This is a compelling page turner. I just think the man deserves Heaven (after a prolonged stay in purgatory) for his last-minute willingness to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of another.”
Now maybe my father missed the point that this was a horror piece and not a feel good, everybody goes to heaven piece. But am I going to change the ending and let the guy into heaven (oh, the power of the writer) to make my dad happy? No, because then the story would not be as thought provoking.
So, write for your loved ones, but love what you write. And while you’re at it sing like nobody’s listening even if they can hear you!