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Unique writers for a unique audience
by Lynda Archard
©: June 15th 2000

When writing for yourself you might jot down notes in a diary and review it later. It doesn't matter if you use short cuts, the important factor is that you understand what you are saying and why. What if someone else read your notes? Will someone understand what you have said? Writing well in your diary does not really matter too much, writing for publication does. Experience comes from doing it and the lessons that you learn depend on how receptive you are to the point of view of others. If you start your writers' diary today, noting what you have done so far and intend in the future, it will be your most useful teacher this time next year.

I write every day and have kept a writing diary throughout the past year. It has reminded me of projects that I had started and need to finish. All of my notes are there, stories I had started and every thought or idea. I've also learned when to submit certain subjects that have a definite sell-by date such as Christmas articles that needs to be in around June or July.

The most important and hardest lesson has come through writing at themestream. The Internet is available to everyone spanning the world and we all need to develop a universal approach to our writing. Once you have an audience then you can start to discover who you are, who you are writing for and where you want to take your writing career. Your unique style will appeal to a unique writer and only then can you decide to expand or stay with an audience who like you.

Journalism is about researching and reporting your discovery in a new way, perhaps serious, perhaps fun, depending on the subject. Research is fun and a good way to find new material and ideas for future articles, or to inspire your fiction plots. That is assuming you know when to stop the search and start to write. I have fallen into that particular trap many times. Researching can be addictive and you need to stop when you have found what you were looking for which isn't easy if the topic interests you.

Reporting facts for other people can be difficult unless you have a voice and an audience already in mind. You need to research your audience, especially if you want to expand into a new market, genre, or your subject requires a new audience. Who do you intend to write for?

Relaying the facts to your audience requires time and patience to learn your craft first and you become an individual later. I have said in previous articles that constant revision is essential and it too has its problems. I have read some of my work time after time and still I find, or someone else does, a mistake so easy to see when it is pointed out that I had been blind to it while I revised my work. If you are in a writers group then you can read each other's work but if you are on your own then you need to develop an eye for these simple errors that will develop eventually. We are all fallible and you may well find an error here that I haven't noticed. Fortunately I have received more emails from people who do like my style than emails that knock my grammar. One type promotes confidence and the other can shatter it if I am over sensitive to criticism and I am whenever I do something new and have worked hard to get it right.

The new writer also needs to create an individual style and voice. Once again this is not an easy task. There will always be a few readers who only want your facts, some want it written using perfect grammar, some will like your voice and style while others can't make head or tail of anything you write and won't come back. If only the latter happens then it is time to ask why you are not understood. Is it because you have written in your own voice or the wrong audience has read you? Perhaps the words you have used are regional and have different meanings elsewhere, or you have accidentally chosen the wrong market. It could be that the reader had only scanned your words and not read them properly. There are loads of reasons why you might have been misunderstood and people are quick to judge you by only one article. They will either love you or hate you and criticise your work. Developing a thick skin is also an asset to every writer because criticism can hurt if it is taken personally by you or said in an offensive way by the reader. Subtlety is not everyone's forte.

Some of you will be cringing at my style of writing, my phrases or use of grammar. This is my chosen style and I know my audience. I hope that most will find this useful and easy to understand, no matter what their age or ability in English language. If this article helps you to rethink your audience and develop your own voice then it was worth me taking time to write it for you. If you are a unique person and can communicate your facts well then there is a place for you and your writing style. Keeping a diary is a reminder that you are a writer whether you have made it into publication or are about to. Both grammar and communication skills can be learned. Creativity and inspiration comes from the heart. When you join the head and your heart then you must have something to say in a way that is useful to someone in the big world audience. There are no teachers of how to gain your voice and experience, only plenty of guides to help you on your individual path. Every critique, criticism or comment should inspire, help or promote confidence. If they don't then remember this 'there are no such things as problems - merely undiscovered solutions.' Think of a subject that you have a good knowledge of or are comfortable with and tell it your way. Get it written and have fun checking your grammar later. All you need do to be a writer is have a need to write and someone to tell it to.

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© Lynda Archard