Writing Discussion

Who do you write for?

Flowers In Hands
Flowers by FreeBirD

Whenever I open up a new book I pay attention to those first pages. There is always one page where several names are scrawled. The page usually begins with “For…”

I always wonder who these people are to the author. Sometimes it’s obvious: the author’s child, spouse, parent. Other times the list is a tease, a mystery.

People are driven to write for various reasons. Most of us write for ourselves first, but who keeps you going when the writing is not pleasure? My ego, curiosity, or the excitement of a new idea, is not enough to sustain me through the length of a novel.

When I write, I have an ideal reader always at the back of my mind. My ideal reader, is not one person, but a combination of people that I know. I always try to think of ways to surprise him (or her), to think of what twists of the plot will wrench him in the gut, to add in the kind of action will get his blood racing, or how I can bring in ideas he hasn’t already thought of yet.

My hope is to entertain, to make my ideal reader feel, and maybe one day I’ll get good enough at this to show him something about himself, or to allow him to discover something about life that we can laugh or cry about together.

“We write to discover our true lovers” as Ray Bradbury put it. That is what fuels me.

You might be my ideal reader. You might be why I’m pursuing publication, why writing is worth all the work, and why I want to put my writing out into the world. Everything I write might be for you.

Who re-ignites your imagination? Who do you write your stories for? Is it someone you know? Do you write just for yourself?

27 Comments

  1. Lovely post. I write for myself. Putting words on paper brings me such joy. I also write…for the world, in hopes that one day my words will impact someone. It is a dear, dear friend of mine whom keeps me writing. He gets to read my story first, and never fails to encourage me to keep going.

      1. T.S. Bazelli Author

        Aww, ok from now on I’m self-appointing myself to your writerly cheering squad Seph. Go writing! *shakes some pompoms* Though I’m more of a kicker-butter, than a inspiration. I inspire through fear! That’s right, get those fingers back on the keyboard! hehe *makes evil scrunchy face*

      2. Drop and Give Me 20 Thousand Words, Maggot!*

        You Call Yourself A Writer! I’ve Seen Mealy Bugs More Prolific Than You! I Think I Squished a Coackroach This Morning That Had Written A Ten-Volume Desk Reference! You Call Yourself A Writer! I Don’t Think You Got What It Takes To Write For The Corps!

        *(with respect to the topic of my blog this week… if the wording here is too extreme or offensive, feel free to edit)

  2. Of course I write for myself. But… who else? I wish I had someone I could say was a constant inspiration and bulwark. I could say my wife – but whether or not I was alone or with her, I’d still write. Of course, I hope she enjoys what I write, but that I write goes back much farther for me. I could say, instead, I suppose: my parents. Though maybe I’m the bad son, and I don’t call home as often as I should, it is in large measure because they were such avid collectors of books, and so keen on reading during my early years, that I kept reading, and kept writing.

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      So that’s where your love of books comes from 🙂 In a way I have to thank my parents for that too, for the fat books of fairy tales I devoured as a child, and for sending me off (against my will) to join the local library kids club.

  3. What a wonderful post, Tessa. I think we all write for someone to experience what we write. Maybe that’s why rejection stings so. We all some part of us want to change the world with what we write, because those words are part of us.

    This isn’t unique to writers. Anyone who does what he loves invests himself in what he does. That’s one reason I throw my passion into writing. (I used to be a software engineer.) Because I became fed up with the software-development industry and even went through a period of severe depression because of it.

    -TimK

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      I think that’s why passionate people are particularly inspiring. They truly believe in what they are doing, and the impact it can have on the world. I think a lot of us face a push/pull when it comes our occupations (I currently work in software, I know what you mean!) and that makes me cherish the writing time even more. Thanks Tim!

  4. Wow. I am surprised I never really paid much heed to this one. Definite thing to look up henceforth. While I write for a generic public which’d be interested in that particular genre of short-story, I don’t have real-life people from my life who I know. I have started on the path quite a few months back, and *looks away so as to avoid eye-contact*, you know, I am still a bit shy to show my stuff to the family and extended family (!) I’ve been asked numerous times but I digress. But I am working on it 🙂

    Lovely post by the way, Tessa. One of the interesting things I read early morning this side of the globe (downunder)!

    -BrownEyed

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Thanks BrownEyed 🙂 I know what you mean. I’m shy too. I haven’t shown any of my writing to my family. I’m kind of nervous to know what they’d think of it.

  5. I’m not sure that I’d do a “For…” in the front of the book, with someone’s name, cause I don’t want to offend my other friends!!!! 🙂

    I don’t know whose name will be in the dedication, actually…maybe nobody’s, for love’s sake…

  6. “We write to discover our true lovers.”

    I LOVE that.

    I admit, I write mostly for me. *I* am my own ideal reader. I write books that I would want to read.

    Not because I’m selfish/self-centered, but because I know myself best, and I figure, if it’s pleasing me, it’s likely to please someone else. Most of the time, if I *try* to write something that I think my mom will like, or my boyfriend will like, or whoever, I get it wrong. -_-

    But… I also write my books for my friends and family. They are my motivation, not my guiding light. They are the names that will go on the dedication page, not my own. They sustain me well past what I think I can handle. And I hope my words will help sustain them someday.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with having yourself as the ideal reader 🙂 I think understanding your ideal reader intimately is an advantage. You know what you want out of the story.

      Bradbury has some great things to say about writing. I think I love the man’s mind!

  7. It’s the ideal reader that makes our work publishable as it happens to be our target audience and the harder we strive to please that reader the better we become at our craft. I am doing it for several people, in which I identify aspects in my writing that is lacking. As in ‘if I will show this to this person, then X & y have to be spotless’.

    It’s good to know you write for someone.

  8. I write different stories for different sources. The one I’m about to write is for its protagonist, and for a certain archetype of heroine I’ve kind of loved since my teens. Once I wrote specifically for an angry girl who didn’t want to hear about hardships anymore. A few times I’ve written comedies entirely for myself, just to make me laugh. Other times I’ve written for an imaginary evolutionary psychologist, or Methodist, or Taoist, or truck driver – reflecting ideas off of what this sort of person might desire and expect. Most often, though, I don’t have a solid audience in mind. I have a void of a story that feels more important than my solidity, and I give everything I’ve got to it because that absence is so deserving of filling.

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      I like the way you think John. I like playing with flash fiction that way. It gives the opportunity/room to try different points of view, and to satisfy different patterns of thinking.

      I’m not sure what you mean about the void. Do you mean that each story starts out as a void that is gradually filled up with words?

  9. Lua

    I’ll admit that I write for the ideal reader… Because although I write to entertain myself, I also write to be read and when I sit down to write, that ideal reader is in the room with me and I stop from time to time to check and see if what I’m writing would fit that reader’s taste.
    I love those pages at the beginning of the books, that ‘for…’ part… Whenever I read it, I can’t help but think, “how luck for him/her, the author is telling this story ‘for him/her’” 🙂

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