Thursday, March 6, 2008

Who Do You Write For?

I know, that technically should read, "For whom do you write?" I've been writing for pleasure for many years, just for me, myself, and my critique group. For the last two years I've have an advisor added to that list, and fellow students, and anyone I swap work with. Grammar is obviously not at the top of my priority list. They're used to it by this point, I think.

I turned 41 yesterday and took the afternoon off to enjoy myself, relax, and get some writing done. I thought, "Oh, a few hours to spare! I could write a couple chapters!" Ha, silly me. Crabby kids, worrisome work cases, and afternoon sleepiness sapped me of all mental energy. A couple chapters? No. A scene? No. A blog entry? Not even. It was a Solitaire type of day. I haven't been writing much at all lately, mostly because I've been stuck. Kids and busy work weeks aside--I'm working on two books that I'm simply stuck in, somewhere near the middle. So my writing non-production is always blamed on writer's block, a stuck story, something other than life going on around me.

Now, my blog, that's another story. 'Why haven't you been blogging, Patti?' I asked myself, when I saw that over two months have gone by since my last entry. I tried to summon up the same excuses as I use for my novels, but I realized that those excuses just don't hold up when it comes to a blog. Blogs can be quick and easy. They can be simple, silly, or even scandalous (except that there's no scandal going on in my life). So why haven't I been blogging? I'm sure you're all dying to know.

The bottom line is this: I don't know who I'm blogging for. Me? I get enough of my own thoughts daily. I don't need or desire to see them in TimesNewRoman size 12 font on the world-wide-web. It's not like I have a following--generally, you have to have a book PUBLISHED before you get fans. Friends? Romans? Countrymen? Who is out there reading this?

Writing a book is like that too. You often don't know who you're writing for. Who is your audience? You need to have an idea of what age group you're targeting when you start a story, for language and content and complexity. But do you know those kids? How do you know you're going to be able to connect with them?

My friends' kids are vastly different my own, and all of our kids are leagues away from the kids I work with. I doubt I could write a story to suit all of them. But I can probably write a story to please some of them, if I try. If I try... if I try... try!

Try, Patti. You can't please any of your audience if you don't write a word. Here comes the devil on my shoulder: how are you going to write if you can't figure out your story? Don't you have to know what's going on in the story before you can actually write it? Yeah, it helps. But it figuring out the story isn't the only thing you can do to get started writing again. One trick is to call your advisor and brain storm for a couple hours. (Thanks, Margaret!) Another trick is just to sit down and write--anything. A short story, a character sketch, a new scene, a BLOG... write something! Anything! Don't worry about who you're writing for, or what's going on in the story. Write for nobody. Write for yourself. If you can't even do that, why call yourself a writer?

So, here I am, blogging again. I can't make any resolutions to blog weekly because I hope to be spending more time writing my books that I'm working on. But since I have this blog, I might as well write in it.

It's what writers do.


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