CM Strawn 7/21/2022
Do I care who reads my writing? Or do I just pen words to keep my head from exploding? That is a question that I must answer nearly every day.
Writing without intent and a clear idea of who I am writing to is little more than journaling. No one is intended to read a journal. It is, by intent, produced for the writer’s benefit and their eyes only. I do journal but writing for publication is different.
Without a target audience, the words that I write fall somewhere in the nether regions of the ether, never to be seen again. The answer, then, lies in knowing who I am writing for.
Writing is conveying an important message that people need to know. So, do I have something to say that is worth the time my reader needs to invest? And is it something that my reader wants to read? Knowing who my reader is will answer these questions. (It is not the intent of this article to teach how to find a target audience.)
In this age of audiobooks, Podcasts, Youtube, etc., people would rather be spoken to instead of investing the time it takes to read the same information. Sadly, I am guilty of this, too.
When I am in a time crunch, reading seems to consume too much time. So, I resort to the internet. Then, after watching the video, I realize that I have spent more time than I would have read that same information. And I would have come away with a better understanding of what I was trying to learn if I had read it.
The Craft of Writing
The craft of writing takes many forms: Fiction, Non-fiction, Reporting, Copywriting, Content Writing, Blogging, Resume Writing, Magazine Articles, etc. These are just a few of the many writing forms in which a writer may wish to engage.
Which one or more of these writing forms the writer chooses is their preference. But sometimes the choice is made for them. If their field of employment requires reports, informational, or other types of business writing (lawyers, doctors, educators), they may feel stifled and wish to engage in other forms of writing outside of work. Many authors have produced exceptional work in their spare time.
Deciding on which writing form to choose is most often based on the writer’s personal preference. If a writer has trouble with imagination, they may wish to stick to non-fiction and other types of informational writing that deal with factual data. Writers who have no trouble inserting themselves into fantasy worlds or imaginary stories may enjoy writing fiction.
Writing short stories may seem like an undertaking requiring little effort. In fact, the short story is an artform in brevity. The short story writer must convey more information in fewer words than the author of a novel has the luxury of. Every word of the short story author must contribute to the story.
In a novel, ideas can be conveyed in copious words taking up as many words or pages as necessary to get the reader to experience what the writer sees and feels.
Short stories must immerse the reader in the story immediately, tell them what happened and to whom, and leave them with a satisfying ending.
So, the short story writer is the master of the craft of storytelling. They give the reader just enough information to see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and experience through the main character the same as they would have if they had read a novel.
The successful short story author has mastered the art form of telling a story quickly but completely.
I wonder if there is a market there.
How to Choose Which Type Of Writing
The type of writing to choose will more than likely be based on the type of reading engaged in by the writer. If the writer reads mostly non-fiction and informational books and papers, they may gravitate toward non-fiction. If the writer is a fan of science-fiction, mystery, thriller, or other genera in fiction, that is where they may settle.
However, many writers engage in more than one genre. There are many ‘How-To’ authors who also write novels to satisfy their creative impulses.
It all boils down to what satisfies the creative desire and the bank account. Writers who engage in freelance writing to pay the bills may write fiction under a different pen name to keep each of their writing styles separate so that they don’t confuse their clients and fans.
Sticking to just one type of writing may feel restrictive to the writer who is becoming bored with writing in their day job. Their creative muse may drive them to create fiction in either a fantasy world or a real-world novel.
Have trouble figuring out what to write? Write what is interesting and there will never be trouble figuring out what to write about.