Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Audiences

[inspired by the Sunday Scribblings prompt, "writing"]

I think it was one of my college professors who taught me that when I write I should always keep in mind my audience.

I write at work: memos, e-mail, announcements, instructions, personnel reviews, and policy statements. Since people at work come from all over the world, and from many walks of life, I try hard to keep my work writing clean and simple. I try to keep my vocabulary at a junior-high level to accommodate those for whom English is not their first language. I put the most important information at the top of the announcements because I know that some people's eyes glaze over quickly. When I am writing for work, my audience is very much in my mind.

The writing that you see on my blog is a different kind of beast. The poetry, in particular, is crafted with very careful word choices. I write to uncover a memory, or a truth, or a wish, and sometimes a rant. I can lay out my information in whatever order I wish. I can twist a story part way through. I can spring a surprise ending. I can use big words.

Yet when writing for my blog, I still keep a governor on my pieces. I limit my topics, avoiding ones that would divulge more than I am willing about work, co-workers, family, and myself. I am not obligated to write for my blog, so it is certainly about pleasing myself, but I do keep in mind my audience here and that audience includes family, friends, blog-friends, and strangers.

And I use one more mode of writing. I have an oft-neglected journal. In it I scrawl pages of stream-of-consciousness. I bitch, I whine, I pout, I rage. My journal sees the worst of me. It also sees the most introspective of me. My journal sees me without a filter, at least one episode at a time, with no editor, hand-written in pen so that it is permanent. Who is the audience for this mode of my writing? Most of the time, I write in my journal for an audience of just one - just me. And there are other times when I write in my journal for some unnamed future person who has discovered the book and is trying to piece together what kind of person I am.

It appears that I have more readers to please that I thought before I worked though this topic. Like any performer, I hope to keep them coming back for a long time. Also like any performer - I could no more stop writing than I could stop breathing. Even if the only audience I please is myself.


gautami tripathy said...

Your write, they come. Like I do. Keep writing, we will keep coming back.

sister AE said...

Thank you, gautami.

Amy Young said...

I have a similiar list of audiences and writing 'venues' or places, but had never really thought of it as you put it. It resonated so true!
Amy from Mediterranean Views

sister AE said...

Hello, Amy. Thanks and welcome.

tumblewords said...

It's difficult for me to write in anything other than a business-like manner. I envy you your 'real' journal and enjoy your blog writing!

sister AE said...

Thanks, tumblewords. I put my conversational style down to my usually-overactive imagination - I guess it comes in handy sometimes!

sophie said...

I absolutely starting blogging for myself, but I treasure the few good friends I have found.

I have never been able to keep a paper journal more than a week, and I have stuck with the blog for over 2 years. So I feel that my posts are spotty. Some I write just cause I gotta. Others i write half imagining what my few faithful readers will have to say in response. Sometimes the posts become opposite of what I think they might be. The "just because" turn into the ones with the most comments, and the things I think are more meaningful do not. I don't really consider myself a writer, but I have fun with it, and that counts.

sister AE said...

Hi, Sophie. Having fun absolutely counts. I, too, find that there is no way to predict which posts will generate more comments than others. Thanks for stopping by.