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WRITING FOR YOUR AUDIENCE

Hello, my dear readers!

I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful Friday, though it’s a little cloudy here. A few days ago we survived a tornado (yes, a tornado in January!) and now it’s back to chilly temperatures here in the Southern United States. Sometimes I really do imagine living on a tropical island with perfect weather, but that probably doesn’t exist. We can all wish, can’t we? 🙂

It has been a while since we’ve done a post on our favorite subject of writing… So let’s get back into it! One of my last posts related to writing advice was titled “5 Tips To Improve Your Writing,” which you can check out here. So in a similar but not-so-similar situation, we’re going to discuss the topic of writing for your audience. 

While writers tend to write for themselves (guilty as charged!), we must remember we are writing for others at the same time. Unless you’re Emily Dickinson, the famous poet whose works were published after her death, you’re probably sharing your materials with people, and this may only be a few trusted individuals, or maybe via a blog (special shoutout to bloggers!). Chances are some of you want to make it big, whether that’s becoming an up-and-coming novelist, poet, screenwriter, or storyteller. And chances are some of you don’t really care; you just want to write to inspire others and spread your words for those to hear.

What is the common denominator here? For a story to be told, there must be someone who receives it. (Even when you’re writing for yourself, you are your audience, so this still applies to the shyer writers out there!) So why don’t we highlight some points of interest when it comes to how to attract your audience and deliver quality material?


1. IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE

For whom are you writing? Are your posts directed to a particular audience? Are your novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays tailored to a specific group of people? Now this may seem a bit exclusive, but I’m going to advise that you write with a particular audience in mind. Wait, why?

When you write something, you’re producing content that will resonate with someone out there. For example John Grisham is the king of the legal thriller. A John Grisham fan is probably going to have some interest in law… And, well, thrills. Someone who is more into chick lit may not have the most interest in a John Grisham book (but I still recommend John Grisham to everyone haha). So while John Grisham books are targeted to the mass market, it is true that not everyone out there is going to enjoy them.

Who is your audience then? When you write, are your stories catered to a particular genre of fiction, or are you floating between genres? And the honest truth is that genre-benders are writing for a particular audience too. What I’m trying to say is this: If you identify who your audience is, you become more aware of what they want. And when you identify what they want, you’re going to see an increase in views, sales, and interest. Of course you should not do this and lose all value in your own writing, but it is important to remember that if you want to see movement on your materials, you must know your audience and what they desire.


2. PRODUCE RELATABLE CONTENT

Relatable content? Come on, Katie. I’m just writing for fun, having a good time, and living my best life.

Well, dear audience: I applaud this idea, and this is something a writer should always remember. But if you take a step back and see what people enjoy, then you’re setting yourself up for success–and you may find a new love along the way.

When I first started Katie Kay three years ago (or was it two? I don’t even remember anymore!), I wrote nonsensical articles, posts that never saw the light of day. In my first year of blogging I saw less than fifty views. The next year, when I finally put effort into my audience and engaging with you all (more on this to follow), I saw a sharp increase in both viewership and legitimate interest in what I had to say. And one big thing that greeted me during this process was a newfound joy in poetry.

Before I started this blog, I hated poetry. But when I started to see the poet community on WordPress, things changed. Poems seemed to do really well on others’ sites, so I decided to challenge myself to a new method of writing. And guess what? I realized I love a good poem!

Now this blog is filled with poetry, and as a result I have come across tens (maybe even hundreds at this point!) of talented, humble poets who are challenging the status quo. No longer does one feel uncomfortable displaying their writing online. Nope! These poets have been fearless in sharing their thoughts.

So the moral of the story: When you produce relatable content, you may just receive relatable content in return. It’s a sort of karmic writing magic.

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Rainbow fountain in Tennessee! (December 2019)

3. ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

So, after you’ve identified your audience and figured out what content you’re going to write for them, it’s time to engage. Consider that you are proposing to that special person who will browse through your work. Do you want to give them a shiny, sparkling diamond of a story, or a dirty, washed out husk? This is a dramatic metaphor, but I’m serious, and it’s true. You’re asking your audience to take a risk on your skills, and they’ve got to be won over. They have to have a reason to give you a resounding, “Yes!”

And one way to do this is engaging with them. Every day, everywhere. This applies to bloggers, who have easy access to their community, and it just as well applies to a novelist in Montana or a screenwriter in Hollywood or a poet in India. When you engage with your audience, you’re learning what works best. You’re honing your skill, and you’re gaining new friends along the way.

In this age of social media and internet and easy access to the world, there are various mediums to accomplish this task of engaging with your audience. Consider starting a website like WordPress (although most of you probably are on here all ready hehe). Expand your website, and make it easy to read. Create social media accounts. If you’re like me and not big into social media, develop camaraderie with other writers (and your readers. Take pride in the fact that you are a writer!) through your website or local library or anywhere that has people interested in literature. You’ll find that it not only makes you a better writer, but you find friends all over the world. ❤

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I’m going to take a risk here… Dog lovers anyone? Here’s a pup chasing me down. Talk about an audience! (Argentina // September 2017)

4. BE TRUE TO YOU

Another thing about writing for your audience is that they’ll tell when you’re writing with heart, or when you’re writing something because you think they’ll like it. Take a moment and think of your favorite book, movie, poem, author, etc. What is it about this author and his or her writing that resonates with you? What did this person write that left you in tears, or overjoyed, or ready to conquer the world?

They wrote for their audience. They wrote for you. But they also wrote from their hearts, from their innermost selves, where emotion and reasoning were unleashed. These writers were true to themselves, because they wrote something that not only came from their hearts–but ended up puncturing yours in the process.

Okay, yes, this may sound corny. I know I sound cheesy most of the time, but I want you to remember to always write from your soul. Write as you would write, because there is no other you out there. And while some may tell you otherwise, it’s the truth that we all need your voice to be heard, because you’re contributing to this world of writers whose passion and purpose in life is to create something from the imagination… And share it with those who are willing to go with you to a made up world. So write for your audience–and also write for yourself.

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This is a terrible angle but this is a truer picture of me than most. Smiling, lost in a purple dreamscape, and exploring Chilean telescopes. (Santiago, Chile // November 2017)

THANK YOU.

The overall point of this post is not to tell you what to write. In fact it’s kind of the opposite. I want you to be who you are, and to do so you must be willing to engage with your audience so that you can learn more about who you really are. For example, as a writer, my romance novels have far outsold my books of other genres. While romance books are not my favorite to write, I’ve found that there is more interest in this type of writing than others when it comes to what I’ve produced. So what does that mean? It means I’m going to write more romance books! Not only am I loving what I’m doing (writing), but I’m sharing with those who love that genre as well.

Maybe this isn’t the best argument for writing for your audience, but I hope you gathered something from it today. And if you didn’t, then take away this main point: Write what you want to write, but just remember to leave a little room for your audience too. 🙂

Until next time,

-Katie Kay

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poetry

in the midnight black (A POEM)

in the midnight black
nothing is as it seems
time is just a product
a product of your dreams

some men will bare their hearts
and others will stay silent
yet no matter your side
your heart will bleed violence

violence, violence against whom?
in this darkness i only see you


AN EXPLANATION.

There is a certain mystery that comes with the night. Instinctively we know that the darkness is a time for sleep and rest; yet there is much more symbolism to this magical time.

Though my favorite part of the day is the morning, I have always held a special appreciation for night. Somehow it is easier to dissect my feelings, because there is so much waiting underneath my skin. For whatever reason, the darkness allows me to examine my thoughts in a totally different manner than in in the daytime. This probably relates to hormones or something, but there is no mistaking that standing in the darkness produces a different reaction that standing in the sunlight.

Therefore, “nothing is as it seems” because time is a weird but terrifically important component of our lives. If there was no time, our sense of the world would be tilted one hundred and eighty degrees. While I do believe that time is necessary, I think that it is also nice to forget it exists once in a while, so that we are not focused or worried on what is to come.

The second stanza of this poem shifts from the perspective on time to something a little more nuanced. At nighttime it is easier for me to open up about my problems and worries, and I believe this rings true for some of you as well. However, some choose silence instead, as the night opens a new cavern for them to dissect the meaning of life.

The most dramatic lines of this poem, “yet no matter your side / your heart will bleed violence,” are not meant to avow images of bloodshed and gore. Instead, these lines are to dramatize the concept of humanity. For me, the darkness exposes some of my deep-seated flaws, as I am more willing to share who I am with others and myself. When we allow our hearts to open up, we can see that we are damaging ourselves just as much as the natural world can.

Violence has two main definitions. 1) Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. 2) Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.

In the darkness, my heart bleeds violence, against my own sins and my own shortcomings. It is at night when I see who I really am. The absence of light, funnily enough, exposes me more than the day ever could.


THANK YOU.

Thanks for reading another poem from yours truly. I am excited for the next posts that will come on this blog, and in the meantime I am enjoying yours as well. Stay safe, and have a beautiful week.

Until next time,

-K.

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Los Angeles, California (Perspective from the Griffith Observatory // April 2019)
poetry

a dream killed me (POEM)

a dream killed me
frame by frame

echoes bound me
name by name

kismet warned me
claim by claim

this love scorched me
flame by flame

though you killed me
I’m to blame.


EXPLANATION.

Hold your horses, my dear readers. I promise that I am not brokenhearted or pining after a chico (for those of you who don’t know, chico is “boy” in Spanish, and I say it way too much when referring to males). Nope, I’m quite happy, and this poem was borne out of a humid midnight at home.

Though I am an emotional soul, I challenged myself to write this poem despite the fact that I have no idea where it came from or what it is really about. When I read it for the first time, it sounded like a bad break-up song. While this poem can be analyzed through that lens, I think there a billion other things that can relate to that killer dream. For me personally it could refer to my writing career. I went to school in order to pursue a creative writing degree that did not fulfill me, and I am the only one who holds the blame in that regard.

But I don’t think it’s about writing, and I’m quite certain it is not about a chico. Therefore, this poem can be left to your interpretation. And I really want to know what you think, and… Maybe there is something here for you too. Maybe you have a dream that has killed you, and you know that you’re the only person to blame.

Anyway, I thought this beautiful May day would be perfect for a little snap of poetry. As always thank you so much for reading!

Until next time,

-K.

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A sunset drive through nowhere (Goodland, Kansas // April 2019)