Role of the audience

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In his book, On Writing Well, William Zinsser states that “you are writing for yourself.” He explains that if you write with enjoyment, “you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.” Try to write about smaller events that are active in memories. They contain more information that will readers will connect with in their own lives.

Although I agree with much of what Zinsser writes, I do think we are always writing for an audience. Whether it is for a group of readers, specific individuals or yourself, as Zinsser suggests, there is always an audience. Keeping your audience in mind while you write can help you strategize how to tell your story or market an idea. Writing is a form of expression that can be used to tell a story, an opinion or even to market a product. Understanding who you are writing for is essential in establishing a tone.

It’s important to write for your audience. If you are writing the local news, you will be writing for that region with specifics the reader will relate to. I think it’s important to envision who your reader will be in order to properly write to this audience. When you know who you are talking to, your tone, use of vocabulary, and personal style will adapt. This will help you connect to the reader as you figure out how to write for them. In E.B. White’s, Approach to Style, he states to make sure the reader knows who is speaking. “Dialogue is a total loss unless you indicate who the speaker is.”

I agree with Zinsser’s statement, “Don’t try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person.” The reader will have their own interpretation. It is essential to understand the reader to set your tone and direction throughout your writing without trying to please a larger group. It is a balance. It comes down to what you are writing about and who it is for. The important thing to remember is to have passion and creativity in everything you write and you will always have the readers attention.

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