December 30, 2013 by musehick
I read a lot about writing for an audience, and I try not to give it too much thought, plugging more into the flow of the story as a means to direct how I write and move forward with the piece. I enjoy writing it, and I enjoy it when I read it back, and I know from the people who read my work and give me feedback that there is an audience for my work. I suppose I just never formally tried to identify it because I worry that it will be some kind of shackle on the expectations I have of myself and the work that I am producing. I always thought of that identified audience being something I need to be aware of at a much later stage of the whole process of getting a book out there … meaning the selling stage.
But another place where you learn quickly what your audience is and how your work will be received and whether you should reconsider unboxing your gift, is in front of a live audience. I have been to two readings thus far in the last week, and the first one I got an instant read that what I had to offer would fit in. The second reading I got a similar feeling that this time round what I had to offer would not work quite so well. In order to play to and for the room you have to have different blades in your Swiss Army Knife, and that night I knew I was sporting a spork rather than a multi-bladed instrument. My friend spotted the same thing and stopped pushing for me to get up and read. But the cool thing? I let someone else read my books directly, and they liked it and I got an invite. I spoke to someone else about a project they were interested in and I felt a commonality in place.
It is kind of reassuring – to know that I really am writing for like-minded people and I can see when and where they are. A friend once talked about ‘her people” and knowing when she was around them, and I have always had that intuition, but may have suffered a little from blinkered vision in regards to my work. Getting back out there I am re-engaging not just with the idea of reading again, but with the idea that I have something to say and that there are people out there who are receptive to the things that I am saying. What an exciting place to be, and an exciting place to arrive at, just in time for the New Year. 2013 has been, for me, all about closing off unfinished cycles – I think 2014 is going to be truly about new beginnings. Exciting.