Let’s talk about your audience and WHO you create for. I had a big aha about this a few weeks ago, and it’s an idea I’ve been exploring.
It started when I began digging back into my old blog posts and thinking about WHY I’d started my very first original blog which I started in March of 2011. Which is CRAZY that I’ve been blogging for almost a decade.
I’ve talked about this on my podcast, about the utter terror I felt sharing my voice with my first post, the fear that someone would read my writing, and (paradoxically) the fear that nobody would read what I wrote.
But I knew that either way, I had to start sharing my words.
Not for anyone else.
I had to find my own voice, my own message, to learn to write from my soul, and share that.
Was it scary? Oh hell yes.
Worth it? That gets an even bigger hell yeah.
Writing my books has followed a similar creative process as those original blog posts. Ideas come to me at random times, in dreams, in my journal, when I’m least expecting them. They come. And they feel really exciting and good, like light and joy.
They’re inspired. Interestingly, the Latin root of the word “inspired” is in + spirare, meaning “to breathe in.” These seeds of creation feel as natural and good as breathing.
Sometimes bringing them to life and doing the actual writing can be challenging but there’s a deep contentment there too.
I’ve learned not to worry about who I’m writing for because really, I’m writing and creating for myself.
That’s where our best writing can come from.
And this, my friends, was my big aha. We do our BEST work when we remove the whole idea of audience. That may come later, but in the initial creation? To get to our best and deepest ideas? Don’t focus on your audience.
Focus on the work, on the words, on the ideas.
If you’re a creator, you CREATE FOR YOU.
It’s Soulful Creativity.
YOU are your ideal audience.
If you’re a marketer, your audience comes first as you ask:
- What are their pain points?
- How can you solve them?
- How do you address all of their questions?
- How do you position your work so it can reach your intended audience?
Ideas come and then we “run them through the marketing mill” and squash out the soulful juice.
This isn’t to say that there’s no place for marketing and answering your audience’s questions with offers you might create for people. But when it comes to your creative work, I invite you to begin the process with YOUR gifts, YOUR story, what YOU want to share.
In any case, think about these questions, maybe take them to the page in your journal.
- If not you, WHO do you create for?
- How does that feel? Do you prefer to create for others? Or for yourself? Why?
- What might you create if you completely removed ALL thoughts of your audience?
- Where might that take your work?
- Where might that take YOU?
- Does that feel scary? Or freeing? Playful? Irresponsible?
There are NO right or wrong answers here. I consider myself a recovering people pleaser, so this is an issue that I’ve struggled with for my entire life. If I’d have written answers to these questions fifteen years ago, ten, five or even two, my answers would probably be different than they are right now.
I know, now, that if I create and write the stories that I’m called to write, create art that is in my heart, that work will resonate, it will be what people need to hear or read. But at the end of the day, it’s really more about what I feel called to share and say and trusting that.