At the beginning of your writing journey, you won’t have a following. No audience. No readers. Nobody knows who you are. It’s almost impossible for them to find you. It can be an awfully lonely place at the start, and in this solitude, you’ll ask, “Why am I even writing this? Nobody will read it.”
Writing is more than putting words on pages. Writing is communicating. To solve the problem of not having a readership, all you have to ask is “Who am I communicating with?” Now, at this point, you might have an epiphany and discover your audience are the children of Mexico or all the pregnant women in their second trimester. If that’s you. Great! All you have to do then is direct your writing efforts towards schools in Mexico or building a pregnancy blog, and in a matter of time, you’ll have an audience.
But then again, maybe you’re starting out and you don’t have a specific audience in mind. No worries. You don’t need a niche to be a writer. You’ll always have two audience members that you can focus your writing towards. Those two people are You from the Past and You in the Future.
You from the past:
Wouldn’t it be great if you could give advice and share your wisdom with yourself when you were ten, thirteen, or eighteen years old? There is so much you can teach the younger version of yourself.
Think about all you know now that you didn’t know before. There is so much to tell that kid. Your experiences with school, work, and friendships, for example.
The thing is, there are ten, thirteen, and eighteen-year-olds everywhere. And while some of your stories may come across as a curmudgeon complaining about how things worked “back in my days…”, experiences are also a part of being a human and your personal approach to surviving those moments may help someone else who’s going through something similar today.
By writing for yourself in the past, you identify which moments and ideas impacted your life. It’s an effort to tell your younger self what really stuck with you after all this time.
Yourself in the future:
Memory is a funny, fleeting thing and if you don’t capture it, it fades away or morphs into something that is not what it once was.
While we can take pictures of ourselves to capture what we physically look like, photography fails in recording what is on our minds. Writing offers that solution. Like time travelling, writing allows you to communicate with the person you’ll become in the future.
Getting old sucks! However, when you write for the future, you’re passing on a little bit of yourself, allowing your thoughts to travel a little further down the line. The ideas have more mileage. Writing gives memories physical presence in the world for you to revisit when the time is right.
When you write for yourself, whether it’s yourself from the past or yourself in the future, the act becomes a protest against time. While you’re writing, your memories, stories, and ideas are immortalized. When you’re uncertain who will be reading your work, turn the target inward, and you’ll find two audience members eager to know what the current version of you has to say. So don’t hold back! Let them know what’s on your mind.
Who would you rather write for? Yourself from the past or yourself in the future? Let me know in the comments below.
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