Do you know who you’re writing for? Take a moment to think about it if you haven’t already. What did you come up with?
Some answers might be yourself, your family, your friends, a specific group of individuals in your genre…all of them are good answers, but there’s a specific answer that will help you more than any other.
In the business world it’s a well-known fact you can’t please everyone. Many new entrepreneurs make themselves crazy trying to appeal to everyone in every possible way they can. Being everything to everyone is a fast track to burnout.
New authors are no different. They begin writing their novels with the world in mind. They want friends, family, the readers in their genre, the critics and the editors all to like their story. One group will say they don’t like one part, so the new author will change it to suit them. Another group says they don’t like something else and another change is made. Eventually, the story starts falling apart right along with the poor author.
Have you ever been to a concert and felt like the lead singer was singing just for you? How did he pick you out of that huge stadium of people? Or maybe you’re at a seminar and the speaker seems to have written the seminar for you alone?
The performers and speakers don’t know you personally, but at the same time, they kind of do. They’ve done their homework and figured out who their ideal fan or client is. It’s much easier to pinpoint one type of person in a crowd than try to appeal to the whole crowd at once.
Look at Carly Simon’s song You’re So Vain. She wrote that for one specific person and knows exactly who he is (but she’s not telling). Part of the song’s appeal was all the people thinking it was about them.
Books, especially ones for young adults, do this too. They reach out and grab that one person with a story they can relate to and before you know it, word spreads like wildfire.
Find Your One
How do you find your One? You start by asking yourself some very specific questions. Here are a few to start:
- Believe it or not, you are someone else’s One. What is it that makes you return to your favorite author time and again?
- What is your One’s fears?
- What is your One’s hopes?
- What does your One worry most about?
You want to define your One the same way you would a character. You want to reach them on an emotional level and find out what’s in their heads.
Try this little exercise. Picture yourself at a book signing. Throngs of people fill the store and line the streets outside for blocks. A fan comes to you and says “I LOVED your book! I’m your biggest fan!” You take that fan aside for a few minutes and have a little interview with them (hey, it’s your vision, everyone else will be patient!).
Ask them why they loved the book so much. What was it that resonated with them? I bet they’ll be able to pick out specific examples that reminded them of situations they had been in.
Have you found your One already? Tell us about it. We’d like to hear about your discoveries and how this made your writing so much easier.
PS: This works for every aspect of your creativity. Try it for non-fiction, business, and art!