I hear that a lot as a writer. You have to know to whom you are writing, otherwise what’s the point? That makes sense. It’s just the narrowing down of the prospective audience that eludes me.
It’s becoming a major matter of prayer for me. Who exactly am I writing all of this stuff for? I thought I had an epiphany a few weeks ago. Someone told me to stop writing at people and get to know them. That sounded really good, but it hasn’t worked out so well. I’m having a hard time getting to know you.
When I first started my blog, I titled it Messed Up and Broken…Loved and Forgiven. Those were the kind of people I wanted to write to and encourage. I’m one of those people. A Ragamuffin—a raggedy believer. But then a literary agent told me that fiction writers should put their own names on their website, and that Messed Up and Broken sounded more like non-fiction, so I dropped it, slapped my name up there, and tried to figure out ways to write about my stories. But that didn’t solve the audience question.
I’m still wondering about the audience. All kinds of people have read my book– men, women, teens, seniors, and the ages in between. Who are you people? What do you think about? Dream of? Long for?
Who’s your audience?
Yep, that’s right. I’m asking you.
I don’t think this is just a writer thing. We all have some sort of audience, don’t we? Those people in our lives who watch us, listen occasionally, and respond to us in ways that either propel us forward or make us rethink that last scene.
A lady wrote me the other day and shared a little of her story, and you know what? It was a privilege. I probably won’t speak with her in person any time soon, and we don’t know the names of each other’s kids, but I care about her. I pray for her, and I wonder if there’s anything that I can write that might help her a little bit. And so I’ve become her audience. A student in her life. A cyber-friend.
Our capacity for close relationships is somewhat limited, I know. And that’s probably good, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t influence one another’s lives as we walk along. We all have some sort of sphere of influence. We would do well to identify it, and cultivate it. Not because it will sell books or make us special, but because God calls us to go and make disciples. That starts the minute we walk out the door or open a browser.
And you know what? You may never fully know who your audience is. Whose life you touched because you smiled? Or didn’t. You might never know, and I might not know, but we still have a job to do.
What can you do for your audience today?