Writing for An Audience of One

Stories live in all of us, whether we learn how to publish them or not. It is a matter of living creatively. By nature, we create stories, white lies, fables to help us cope through the day. These jumbled-up lines are as much a part of our self-identity as our sexuality and religious beliefs.

They carve out pieces of our soul and place them on our sleeves to show off who we are and choose to be. The curious thing about writing stories that no one will read is the drive to improve. You will spot a sentence that didn’t feel right or a description that needed more words.

And you will learn to write better. You will grow from trying to write a better story for yourself when you are the only audience of your writing, the pressure to impress and awe lessened. You don’t have to shock your audience, but you just might when you read it back to yourself.

Beyond the First Draft

Your first draft is likely shit. I don’t say that to offend you, just to lessen the pressure of perfection. It is where your ideas evolve and share them with your audience of one. But if you are like me, your first draft is also where you run a bit wild.

Yes, I am a panster. Writing stories by the luck of my pants or skirt or just plain skin. I sit on the bed and say the sentence that triggers a story, “You know what would be cool?”

But beyond that moment is the first draft. It is seeing your ideas come to life and looking at your hard work with pride. Whether you’re a panster or a plotster, this moment is the same.

Beyond your first draft is the concrete feeling of “hey, this might work” and a sense of accomplishment. It is more about believing your ability to tell stories than forming plotlines.

Beyond your first draft is the concrete feeling of “hey, this might work” and a sense of accomplishment. It is more about believing your ability to tell stories than forming plotlines.

And this point in a writer’s journey is quite unfortunate because so many writers stop before they finish writing their stories. They lose hope in their ability to be creative.

Imagine if the universe represented every time a writer decided not to tell a story, a star went dim. And yet, we have a sky full of stars. We have writers who believe so much in their craft that they go beyond an audience of one and share their work.

I am not saying that sharing your work should be the end goal. Quite the opposite actually, I am saying you should write stories you want to read. Create characters you can relate to and plotlines that bring you joy.

Fight against the idea of only writing to please others and create fables, white lies, and stories that make you squeal with excitement. Then you will be able to understand the beauty and secret behind writing better stories.

The secret to writing better stories

Writing is a bitter uphill battle, and anyone who disagrees must have found a way to enjoy the pain a bitterness that comes with the craft. They probably like hiking as well. In fact, they most likely make their own trail mix.

The bitter truth behind crafting a well-written story is you. Scary, right?

You’ll probably hear it from any writing coach you hire, it starts with being honest with yourself. There will be prompts, writing workshops, writer’s groups, and communities. None of them will get you from idea to published if you aren’t will to face yourself.

However, I’m not so cruel to devoid you of how to write better stories. I’ll break down the three secrets I learned about writing for you.

The three secrets to writing better stories

  1. Be honest with yourself. Stories come from within, not by a stroke of luck or kismet. They start and end with the writer. When you learn how to be confident in your words and who you are, you will begin to tell better stories.
  2. Read with anticipation. It sounds like a load of bullshit, but reading is one of the most beneficial parts of becoming a better writer. Learn from other writers through their work. You might find their style bleeding into yours, but sometimes that’s the push you need.
  3. Have deep conversations. No, seriously talk to others. Writing does not exist in a vacuum, and neither should you. Even if you decide to keep your stories to yourself, conversations are still beautiful. Learning how to have good conversations with people is imperative for crafting good dialogue.

Writing is a Reflection of Self

Breathe. No, really. Take a moment and just breathe. Writing is a journey. It is a form of self-expression and reflection. It blends together our muses and stumbling blocks.

Yet, it can be so beautiful. Maya Angelou once talked about the ups and downs she went through as a writer. However, the biggest revelation was how similar her journey was to others. The same goes for Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, and so much more.

Writing is a reflection of self. It is looking in the mirror and reminding yourself of who you are constantly.

Your stories are little pieces of yourself. And it’s okay if you are the only one reading.

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