How well do you know your audience?
You probably know if they’re customers, clients, stakeholders, or supporters. You may know if they’re fans, interested but not engaged, or occasional visitors. But even if you have data on your audience, how well do you actually know them?
Do you know what they need? What they desire? What moves them to action?
When you’re creating content you hope they consume, are you creating that content with them in mind, or are you only pushing something you want at them?
Despite how much writing can be a pleasurable hobby, there are a staggering amount of “don’ts” that writers are told to avoid in order for their work to be viewed as “good.” Don’t use adjectives. Don’t give any exposition ever. Don’t use clichés or tropes because X audience is tired of them.
Don’t do this, don’t do that, on and on, until you stop and realize that, if you choose to not do all of the things you’re not supposed to do, well… you wouldn’t get much writing done, would you? There’d be no wiggle room for it.
“It is difficult to keep the public interested… the supply of new ideas is not endless,” complains the narrator of Donald Barthelme’s “The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace.”
For every writer, whether they pen literary fiction or produce streams of online content, the fight to stay interesting is an ongoing one.
Interesting to the reader, interesting to ourselves as writers, and interested in the process of putting words on a page. It is all too easy for overfamiliarity to seep in, causing mind-numbing boredom first in the writer, and in turn, the reader.
Have you ever written for several hours, then emerged from your creative stupor feeling like you’ve just run a marathon?
I tend to hang around a lot of writers, and our routine is as follows: Wake up > eat > write > nap > eat > write > sleep. Notice that nap wedged in the middle of writing? Yeah, that’s necessary.
It could be because we’ve been staring at a screen for hours on end, or maybe it’s the growing cramp in our hands, but if you catch us sans-nap, we’re gonna look like zombies.
From start to finish, the writing process is exhausting. We all know how difficult a first draft can be, and the edits that follow are painful and seemingly never-ending. But that’s not the only reason writing drains the life out of us.