From Randy Murray:
If you’re a writer, you need a reader.
That may seem dazzlingly obvious, but I’m not talking about the person who may eventually read what you’ve written. I’m talking about someone you have in mind before you begin writing.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this, the idea of an ideal reader. In fact, it was an obvious, yet eye-opening idea when I first heard John Gruber talk about this during his Voice x Obsession talk with Merlin Mann. John shared the fact that when he writes for his site he essentially sees his audience as a version of himself who never started his website.
That may be a sign of arrogance, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t primarily write for myself. However, much like Gruber1, it’s always to an alternate version of me. At any given time, I find I am doing one of two things: writing to me a month ago, sharing what worked (and what didn’t) or writing to myself a month from now, offering advice on how to get where I want to go.
I’ve always figured that I can’t possibly be the only person who struggles to suck less, who looks to create more and who wants to be more intentional. That drives most of the things you read here on the site. These words are born of a desire to help anyone who struggles with getting things done and getting things made as much as I do.
Give Randy’s article a read (and while you’re at it, make sure to check out his series on planning for 2012), it helps you understand why knowing who are or who you want to write for is so important.
What is your model reader like? Are you writing for someone or are you just hoping that your thoughts will resonate with anyone?
- Although a far less refined version of him… [↩]