If you’re looking to get a bit more serious with your writing but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, a good starting point is to try and define who you’re writing for. Who is the audience?
Why is it important to understand your audience?
Often, when you ask a writer who they’re writing for, they’ll tell you that they’re writing for themselves. Or, if you ask them who they think will read what they’ve written, they’ll tell you that they hope that everyone will read their work. That’s all great, but it’s a bit self-indulgent.
It depends a bit on what you’re writing, but the more you can visualise and articulate your ideal reader then the better your writing is going to be.
You need your style of writing to be accessible to your target reader. You need the words that you use to be engaging to your target reader. If you’re writing a travel guide to a series of destinations, you need to understand who it is that you’re writing for otherwise the advice that you’re giving could be completely irrelevant.
How do I figure out who my audience is?
Start with some really broad questions or decisions, and then get more specific as you define your audience and get more granular with your articulation of who you are writing for. Here’s some questions that you might find a useful starting point:
- What language does my audience read?
- Where does my audience live?
- Is gender a consideration?
- What age is my audience?
- What level of education does my audience have?
- What sort of jobs does my audience have?
- Is sexuality a consideration?
- What are the political views of my audience?
- Is my audience married? Single? Dating?
- Does my audience have children? Ageing parents? Siblings?
- Has my audience read something similar to this previously, or is this something new to them?
How do I get started with my writing project?
The best way to start your writing project is to start writing. That may sound overly simplistic, but if you’re not sure where to start or how to start, the act of just beginning to write some things down will help you to manifest what it is you’re trying to do.
Your first draft of anything is just a bit of a rough outline to sketch out a general direction. You’re going to go back, edit it, change it, rewrite it completely. But you need to stop procrastinating and put some words together – that’s what writers do. That’s how you write.