Your voice is power.
When I first meet people, one of the very first things they want to know is: How do I write for my audience?
And just like that, it's gone.
Your voice. Your power.
You've handed it all over to a nameless, faceless, brutal Anonymous—the most despicable critic in your own head.
The most powerful advice I can give you is this:
Do not write for your audience.
You can't. The audience for your book does not exist—because you haven't written it yet.
Just as you are the creator of your book, you are the creator of your audience.
Write your book. Find your audience.
Those are the steps.
You cannot wait for a crowd to gather and then jump into the middle of it. They will scatter. (Some might get hurt.)
You must stand alone, often for a painfully long time, and then you must make your offering, and only then can a crowd begin to circle.
How do you write for no audience?
Easy. Write for yourself.
You're here, I believe, because a story has already entered your mind. You already know what you want or need to write. You're only stumbling because all the voices are telling you that you need to market it, find your audience, make an outline, get an agent, get it published.
Do you see what is wrong with this?
First, you're trying to find a home for something that you still haven't brought into existence.
Second, you're listening to every voice but your own. If you can't listen to your own inner voice, you cannot write. Your voice is telling you exactly what to write, and you keep shutting it out.
The secret to writing from your voice is simple.
How do you do that? Write. Get quiet. Ask questions. Give answers. Argue back. (Do you see why writers might unfairly get the reputation for being a little bit crazy, talking about voices in our head?)
But let's back up.
You must trust that you know what you have to say. But first, you must be quiet enough to listen. It's not easy shutting down the chatter. It can be comforting, after all, that din of noise keeping us from thinking.
Don't do it. We can't give in. Not as writers. We have work to do.
Every day, you can be doing it. Notice. Pay attention. Write it down. Scratch it out. Make another sentence.
To your voice.
What is it saying?
This is not some future version of you talking. This is you, right now, in all of your knowing, understanding, seeing of the world.
And that is powerful.