Writing Tip – Write for yourself
There’s no shortage of articles and tips encouraging you to find your audience, understand their needs, complete your research and write for them.
These articles would have you believe your writing exists solely for your audience. That you wouldn’t have a platform or a voice if they weren’t there to listen so you need to write for them, in their voice, to their problems.
Consistently writing for other people is the proven road-map to losing your identity. You’ll end up losing your style in an attempt to connect with your audience. Writing for someone else is like spending all day at work then asking your boss to pay someone else.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring value through your writing. You absolutely should. But whether you’re entertaining, inspiring or teaching – if you’re passionate about your topic then your audience will find value.
It’s not always easy to make this separation though. So, if you’re struggling to find a balance, ask yourself the following question – ‘would I enjoy reading this?’
No matter what your chosen subject matter is, if you’re passionate about your craft then people will be drawn to it. If you stumbled across your answer, would it bring value to your life?
It’s a simple yes or no question.
This can be challenging though. So, you can use the following template to really simplify your approach. Forget fancy research tools or audience insight analysis that you’ve been repeatedly told are key to your success.
Instead, follow this simple framework:
– What is the problem I am writing about?
– Here are the common pitfalls to avoid.
– Here are my thoughts on solving it.
– Here are supporting arguments from people much smarter than myself.
Take these 4 steps and you’ll be connecting with an engaged audience, through your authentic voice, time after time.
Why is writing for yourself so important?
The reason this subtle switch is so powerful is that it means you’ll never run out of inspiration. If your audience enjoys reading about a certain topic, writing for them can eventually bleed the topic dry. Over time you’ll have come at the subject from so many angles that there’s no new ground to tread.
Now flip the switch:
Instead, you start writing for yourself. You approach the subject from your own perspective. You shine light on it from your worldview. You lend your life experience to the writing.
Writing for yourself means never running out of opinions. Let everyone else tread the same boring path. You get to hack your way through the jungle and find buried treasures that others are too afraid to look for.
Will your writing always hit the mark? No. But that’s the nature of searching for treasure. When you eventually push through the undergrowth and see the golden city everyone dreams about, you’ll wonder why you ever walked the safe path in the first place.
What’s one way you’ve written for yourself and how did that turn out for you? Leave me a comment so we can discus some more…
About The Author
Alexander Porter is Head of Copy at Sydney agency, Search It Local. He is a creative at heart and has over 30 million story views on Quora, where he was the #1 most viewed writer in the world across multiple categories.
Alexander also runs popular travel and lifestyle blog, ‘Inked and Abroad’ which chronicles his journey from Leukemia diagnosis to tattooed world traveler.
With hundreds of short stories started (but never completed) Alexander considers his creative journey as being similar to herding cats. It’s challenging, you’re always kept on your toes, but it’s just so much fun there’s nothing else he’d rather do.
Like all authors, he’s also trapped in third person and struggling to get out.