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Dear Writers, Who Do You Write For?

By 19/11/2013writing
‘You should write, first of all, to please yourself. You shouldn’t care a damn about anybody else at all. But writing cant be a way of life, the important part of writing is living. You have to live in such a way that your writing emerges from it.’ ~ Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing was one of my fave writers going into my twenties, and I completely agree with that last line of the quote.

As to who I write for– I write the first draft primarily for myself, sometimes even the second or the third. But the later drafts almost always have a reader in mind.  Not all readers, but one reader, someone I know or imagine, the kind of person who would be interested in such a story.

Sometimes my ideal reader is my betta fish!

What about you? Who do You write for?

Betta fish writing

Who Do You Write For?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Hi, thanks for liking my post “Book Review: The Country Bunny”. I write about the types of things that I am interested in, and I hope that people will find these things useful and educational. If they don’t, that’s fine, I don’t feel like I have to get likes and comments on everything. However, just because someone doesn’t comment or hit the like button doesn’t mean they haven’t read it and liked it. So I really don’t have a specific reader in mind, but I think that if you have specific things you like to write about, you’ll probably find a readership.

  • I write because I must–I’m always writing for myself, especially when I think I’m writing for other people.

  • karnamshiv says:

    Reblogged this on Siva's Blog and commented:
    Interesting article for blogging enthusiasts

  • karnamshiv says:

    I always have this passion of writing and being a writer but later I realized that they both are distinctly different. Like in Photography it is important to take pictures before having some recognition and same goes with writing as well. One has to write to appease himself and improve his skill. The acceptance of his work and appreciation will follow. However, since I have started writing regularly I have got few followers and regular visitors for my blog and I it is them that have changed the way I write and probably better.

  • I typically write to preserve my sanity. I have an idea that is so interesting and powerful that I simply cannot let it fade so I put my pen to paper – who am I kidding? It’s finger to keyboard in this day and age.
    Thankfully, I also have a way with words, so it can come out well.
    I write for myself, but if someone else sees it and likes it, it’s a bonus.

  • I write for myself – the satisfaction that I derive out of it, and the social causes that I promote through my writing. Thanks.

  • cherokeewind says:

    Sometimes I write just to write, other times it is to vent. Venting by writing is easier than verbally at times. I have said that I write to give my thoughts a voice, I would eventually like to publish my poetry and a collection of my blogs. Sometimes I blog just to give the voice to my random thoughts, sometimes it’s a particular thought or idea or even event. I do have a blog about insurance, so there is something specific there. I think writing our thoughts is a form of therapy, though sometimes when I get into certain areas/memories it becomes too painful still to finish so I just go with something else.

  • wlloydjr says:

    I write to please myself after first. If I can’t enjoy what’s splurging from my imagination, how can anyone else? I see blogs about people trying to promote “how to blogs” or “order my next novel coming out…” I think a lot of writers forget why they blog, or atleast what a blog is meant for. I blog to satisfy my inner self and to be able to look back at what happened throughout the week. It could be something I use in a novel I’m writing. If I get a few followers along the way, cool, but that’s not my main objective to writing. It’s my inner peace to this world. Love your posts! Enjoyed them thoroughly! 🙂

  • ashokbhatia says:

    So well articulated!

  • 007pandas says:

    Reblogged this on 007pandas's Blog and commented:
    This important information from an experienced writer/blogger. Thank you daily write.

  • liamiman says:

    Because I have some followers who know me personally, I’m sometimes tempted to write in a manner that I know would appeal to them, so I have to correct that trajectory whenever I catch myself doing it.

  • debherter says:

    At this early point (as I work on my first novel) I’m writing for me. In fact the plot of the first half of the book is completely taken from fantasies I’ve used to fall asleep to for months now. I have trouble imagining who else I might be writing for at this point, but hopefully I’ll determine that as I keep refining what I’m writing.

  • Manika Dhama says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    We might write for ourselves but it always feels nice to know someone out there read and reacted. Love your commitment to the daily ‘rite’. Looking forward to interacting more!

  • I typically get the question: What do you write about? I hear myself answer and I sound flighty. “Pick a topic and stick to one!” I imagine they are thinking. And, inevitably, “What a fraud.” It is my dirty little secret that I write for the pleasure not for the purpose. It is my dirty little lie that I write to change minds.

  • mostlymisfit says:

    Such a nice way of putting it. So many times I have written something, typing it out furiously and even hit publish. But then I have also gone back so many times and edited or entirely removed certain parts. This most certainly means that the first version was what I wrote for myself and the subsequent ones foe some readers. Although, I shouldn’t be worrying too much at this point since I have very few readers. And just 2 regular readers. 😀

  • I write for the craic and no… that doesn’t mean drugs, It’s the word we Irish people use for fun , specifically fun with words, saying them writing them playing with them.

  • istaystayc says:

    At first, when I started a blog I didn’t know what to write about. That was mostly because I was trying to figure out the interests of majority of the possible readers. It was only recently that I realised that I need to write for myself. Now writing is growing on me because I let go of my fear that no one would be interested. I’m happy about that, and I hope to continue growing.

  • Jonathan says:

    I write for myself and for the most part have only ever written for myself. Not only am I my only guaranteed reader, but I write knowing that I am going to have to read what I have written many, many times. If I don’t like what I read I am not going to be able to proof it properly. But even more, if I don’t like what I have written, how could I ever expect anyone else to?

  • juaneismann says:

    I write for the monkey. It’s like the song ‘Coffee’:
    Can get this bean off my back!!

    Only it’s not a bean, it’s a monkey. Maybe it’s Donkey Kong. At any rate, it is a new torture for my soul. Only write because it’s a nervous energy that courses through my heathen veins until it is either released by slaving over a teeny tiny keyboard or I treat it like a good drinking session by sleeping it off.

    I’d rather not write, but unless I do this thing, I seesaw through a day or two until the craing fades.

    Hey, thanks for the follow. 🙂

  • tmforal says:

    I write because if I don’t, my story ideas will pile up inside my head and make my brain splatter against the inside of my skull. Plus, it’s really nice to be writing, and when people ask you what you’re doing, you say, “just writin’ a novel.”

    I don’t really envision my reader much… Is that bad?

  • Eve Shay says:

    I write for the readers. i write because when I open a book I know what joy is and I want others to experience that wonderful feeling through my writing.

  • bagladyrox says:

    Loved this. I have been asking myself the same question and hoping that people would start reading my new blog and if no one did, should I continue and my answer is yes. Ultimately I write for myself but I really hope others will read it also so thanks for signing up for mine!

  • kelvinoralph says:

    I write for me myself and I. Like you said, maybe the first draft or even to the third draft. But eventually I write for my target audience. Will they like this book? It could just be for friends and family. I may not even publish it on Amazon.

    Thanks for following my blog Damyanti. I really appreciate.

  • Great post!

    I write primarily for myself, with the hope that others will enjoy my words as much as I do.

    Thanks for the follow.

  • I write for The Drive, that urge inside. Then, I write for myself, to impress my wife (my entire life is an elaborate plan to woo her), my late Pop, my sons (if they ever read it- lol), my former students (to show them the dream continues), and, most importantly, to those generous enough to read my earlier work, as a thank you for their faith.
    How’s that?

  • I write to keep myself motivated and inspired. It is also kind of nice to look back and see how much I’ve changed or accomplished. I really like this article and very much agree with it. Although the last part reminded me of my blue Betta fish, Martin, who just recently passed away. R.I.P. Fishy Smishy.

  • I write for my writing. To keep it fresh, keep it moving, keep it inspired and maybe even inspiring…

  • Maskur says:

    thanks to follow my blog
    i write on my blog, just for fun, no more

  • It’s amazing how timely reading your post is for me. I thought I wrote for myself until I allowed others to cut me off at the knees. I’m starting anew with, I am determined, a polished sense of what this is all about. And thanks, by the way, for visiting my new blog.

  • Reblogged this on thisoldtoad and commented:
    Thank you for the follow may both are lives be enriched….

  • bigfootmarty says:

    I write for my head and my heart and when I let it get AWAY from my journal ( marble composition notebook)
    I hope the words I write are helpful and useful to others( they have already helped me…

    notes on my stuff here and facebook.

    Thanks ,


  • I love it – writing is for living ! A wonderful blog site ~ thank you

  • Angeline says:

    I definitely have learned to write (and do everything else I do) for “myself”. By that I mean that I’ve come to believe that the meaning of my spiritual existence is to be myself as purely as I can be and the results will serve the world. In practical terms that means that I do what I do in the way that I do it and other people like me will appreciate and respond to it. You can’t please all of the people all of the time so I don’t try to do that. I sing at the world and the right ears will hear my tune.

    As for living in a way that you have something to write about, I agree with that whole heartedly. I like to say “Yes” to as much as I can: party invitations, adventures, conversations with strangers, opportunities in general. Saying Yes always adds to my experience and that helps me understand and write about life. When I was in my early 20s I remember wanting to write, but feeling in my gut that I wasn’t ready, that I didn’t have enough to write about yet. I feel like I was right for then and I don’t feel that way anymore. Now I feel like I’m overflowing.

  • Thanks for visiting my writing site. I’m lucky because it brought me to your post.

    As to your question, a variation. I write as an expression of myself and have discovered that in the telling of stories, my story is everyone’s story at some level. So as I write for myself, I write for everyone else, what perhaps they cannot express, but I can express for them. That inter-connectedness brings the expression of writing to life. When I started writing I used to call it “dictation” as it felt channeled rather than actually originating with me. I know I’m writing at my best when it feels like dictation.

    Happy New Year to all writers!

  • I write, first, for myself. To make sense of things, to explore emotions, to discover the world around me, to find out what the truth is for me. I usually don’t think of what others think or will say about my story. I mostly write in English and it’s my third language.This is why I take care make it understandable for others. My drama teacher always say to us that when we are on stage we “express, don’t impress.” So I try to express my emotional truth and hope that it will resonate with others.

    Thanks for visiting my site and for following. Looking forward to reading more of your work! Cheers.

  • I write stories I would like to read myself. I don’t imagine others reading them. That would probably block my writing. No, when I’ve written a story and I like it, I can let go of it and trust that there will be others who like it as well.

  • bjmuirhead says:

    I write entirely and solely for myself, simply because I am the reader I want to have. Which, unfortunately, means that I all too often write unpublishable (in the current climate) material. But that is not an issue normally, especially as I am a slow slow writer.

  • zoeywritings says:

    Most of a times, I write for myself. Because when I begin to thinking about my audience, I get nervous and tense, so it’s easer for me just thinking about the people after I wrote the story. 🙂

  • I write for myself, my future, my people, my world, etc. I just imagined how proud I’ll be when I show my writings to my children someday 🙂

    “Spoken words flay away, written words remain.” Caius Titus said.

  • Saw that u liked my post – the poetry conjecture…. 🙂 Lessing got it right, at least for production of the greatest written art. I had to start writing something “significant” since I could not find stimulating enough books to read, including Lessing’s!!!

  • TC Conner says:

    I write. Or try to. The muse hasn’t told me who it’s for yet.

  • leemalerich says:

    thank you for visiting my blog. to answer your question, i write to connect unlike things. do the same thing in my visual art. it is all about unknown connections.

  • sealeychars says:

    I’d have to say it’s a bit of both for me. I started my blog to improve my writing and figured the only way to get better at something is to do it. Now that I’ve started gathering a very humble following. I write with them in mind. In person I like to make sure when people leave my presence they feel empowered and inspired and I guess I want people to feel that way when they leave by blog page also. If one person is inspired by my writing, I feel as if I’ve reached my writing goal. Loving your blog. You’re inspiring me!

  • mahagaonkarp says:

    I write because I can. Not so sound haughty about this statement, but it is natural for us humans to express by written text or diagrams. Even the cave woman had left some details behind for us to “read” into. Sound, taste, smell, pain, love and anger have their own ways to find a physiological entry and exit. Words however can go beyond these and bring out the deepest of our inner worlds and the only method of exit is language.
    Cutting the story short: For me, writing is an ultimate exit, a basic psychological release of emotions.

  • marthebijman says:

    Interesting question. Without having read other people’s responses, I’d like to add my two-cent’s worth, and since I’m in a holidaying mood, I’m doing this with my tongue firmly in my cheek.
    Why I write:
    1. Because I can. Got books, got working brain, got blog, got wi-fi. Done.
    2. Because every action results in a different reaction. When I see something lovely, or moving, I want to spout poetry. When I see bad business writing, I want to rewrite it. When I read a book, I want to say something about it, so I write a review. Unfortunately I have no stories in me that would make me want to write a novel. I just write a lot of reviews.
    3. Because I need to analyse what people write to keep my “bull-dust” and “hokum” detectors sharp. I don’t just suck up what I read. I think about it. I analyse it. Sometimes I reject it, sometimes I accept it, sometimes I think about it until I get a headache.
    4. Because I need to practice using (British) English – properly. I like to speak and write it beautifully, and correctly, like an educated person.
    5. Because I like to thumb my nose at the literary establishment, who, like those who adjudicate the authenticity and value of art, are sometimes frightful old humbugs. They’re not the only ones who can review books. I can, you can, we all can, la-la-la.
    6. Because I have an axe to grind with reviewers who are lazy and write banal, obtuse, unmotivated, unoriginal, thumbs-up/thumbs-down type of reviews. This makes all reviewers, especially bloggers, look bad. The point is, what you think, you express in writing. If you are a confused bunny, you will write confused bunny-like things. That is so unflattering.
    7. Because, ultimately, it’s the natural obligation of readers to write about that they read as a form of meta-cognition. Hah. What I mean is, evolved human beans think about their thinking. A critical audience, who thinks, talks and writes about what they read, is essential to the continued production of good literature and the maintenance of a receptive, buying market. If no-one write and talks about books, no-one will buy them. They will be like Betamax tapes, redundant in both form and application.

  • Ron says:

    Writing for myself is what I am doing at the moment with my blog (two years now). It’s slowly growing day by day, week by week like a seedling on a window sill. Thanks for following my blog. I am humbled and delighted.

  • I write for the characters, it’s their story, not mine. I just put the words down and then try to put them in the right order. Also, everyone else can walk away from my books, but I have to live with them – good or bad.

  • Robbie B says:

    I used to write for clients, but that was so stressing as every client has a different readership, and with that comes the mental strain of understanding the needs of different audiences. Instead, I went with the one topic I done the most of and write the content to cater that one audience. It’s so much [easier], although not exactly easy. I can’t honestly say I write for myself though. Satisfaction for me comes from when the words are actually read, understood and makes a difference to the reader. In essence… I write for “impact” if that makes sense.

  • jjmacke says:

    When I think first of writing for others, it stifles my creativity, so lately, I write for my own pleasure, and share what I write believing at least one other person will enjoy it as well.

  • Stephanie says:

    I write for myself first – whatever comes to mind, whatever inspires me. And then I try to find an angle to appeal to readers at large. Because if others can’t relate to your writing or engage with it somehow, then what’s the point?

  • I write for my own enjoyment. Of course, I would like to be read. In a perfect world, I would also sell enough books to at least cover my costs, but what is important is that I write.

  • leswest2013 says:

    I could/should have added that I write a lot of ‘advice’ pieces, for fun and for friends. It’s often the researching of the subject, and the planning of the piece that’s the most fun for me – all done on paper in longhand. Typing it up on my laptop is a satisfying conclusion to that.

    I’m enjoying your blog, thank you!

  • leswest2013 says:

    I’m not really a writer, but I have had the odd feature and article published in a local magazine. I have written a couple of technical manuals too.

    I generally write for fun, because I enjoy it. Sometimes that writing can be confusing and even a little alarming, but I get it if nobody else does.

    I have a very persistent and loud internal monologue that sometimes takes on a character of its own and comes up with all sorts of ideas. Those can be some of the most interesting and amusing things that I put to paper, and later finish out properly on a keyboard.

  • I do write for myself, but blogging has made me conscious of the reader, too. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily… It’s helped me say the same things in a more approachable way, perhaps.

  • This is a great post. Thank you for following my blog!

  • shweta0110 says:

    I guess I had that question sorted a few days back…

  • Cheri L. says:

    Doris was not wrong. Thanks for stopping by The Brass Rag. Come back and see us again soon.

  • Ms. Vee says:

    This is a great read. Thank you for following my blog. I really appreciate it. Blessings!

  • cardamone5 says:

    First, thanks for following my blog.

    Now, I write for myself, but also for my characters who seem to be getting more three dimensional and louder with their demands, the more I write.

    I find that when I write, time passes without me noticing, something one of my therapists said is a marker of true passion.

    I hope someday to be paid for it, but have accepted that if I am not, that’s OK because the enjoyment I get from doing it is in itself payment enough.

    Best regards,

  • I write because I can’t proceed with life without putting out what is in my mind. All through the day the bread-earning-profession delays my writing. While I earn my bread, I also bake the myriad ideas into some recognizable shape. As soon as I am in front of the computer the bread is baked and out comes a post.

  • My Light Bag says:

    Great quote, thank you for sharing! I loved writing and reading as a teenager, and realised that in order to write better, I needed to live more – so I started living fuller. I believe that only life experience can make us better writers.

  • beetleypete says:

    I write to remember. Also to inform others, to tell my story, and to hopefully enrich the lives of others; by my own recollections, and experiences. To express opinions, share thoughts, invite debate and argument, sometimes to educate, sometimes to expound.
    Most of all, I write because I have to. I can’t stop.
    Regards from England, as always, Pete.

  • In some sense, of course, I write for myself because if I’m going to spend a long time developing a narrative, I’m going to have to enjoy myself, but I do have another reader in mind. I write for my mother. And not specifically for her, because she’s my mother and so she kind of has to love everything that I write, but I write for the type of reader my mom is. That’s someone who may not have formal training in literary criticism, but who would certainly not be out of place in a thoughtful book club discussion. A person who can find and latch onto the strongest feature of a novel: its lovable quirky characters, it’s heart-thumping plot twists, or its perfect and unique use of language. My mother was my first and best teacher guiding me through the literary world and so in many ways it is because of her that I write. So it is also for her, and for thoughtful readers like her, that I write.

  • halftangible says:

    Reblogged this on HalfTangible's Story Desk.

  • halftangible says:

    I write for the people in my head who will never get to speak, save through me. Dawn, Sihlk, Ouran, Solange, Eliana, Idalia, Luna Astell, Lykos… and those are just the ones in stories on my blog. They’re such wonderful people to know, even the ones I don’t like. And they deserve, if nothing else, to be known by someone else too.

    …Also for myself 😛

  • lizardyoga says:

    I think if you write for others, you never find your own voice. You must write for yourself, but in the deepest sense; in order to express that which is uniquely yours to express

  • Karen Kincel says:

    I am a professional technical writer, so in that sense I write for companies and their audiences. However, as a novelist, it’s a different story (no pun intended). About halfway through a book my characters start telling me what to write. At some point, I’m not the writer anymore. I’m merely the conduit through which my characters get their word out. Sometimes they won’t just be quiet and let me be. They bug me and bug me until I pick up the keyboard and continue their story. They have taken on a life of their own and I live vicariously through them.

  • Thank you so much for the follow! Very much appreciated.

    I write solely because it’s very therapeutic to me, it’s my healthy escape from reality since I’m going through an extremely difficult phase in my life right now.

  • jamessick says:

    I write for myself, but not first. First, I write for my characters. Can you imagine having a story to tell and no way to get it out unless you find a writer to pen it for you? My characters need to tell their tale, I’m a conduit for them.

  • valdezenigma says:

    I write because I do not have a choice not to write. The energy in my heart and fingers builds up. The tips of my fingers first begin to slightly tingle, accompanied with a fire in my heart. Sure, I can ignore it, but then I begin to lay awake at night. Ideas beckoning me to let them free on paper or on to the computer screen. If I continue to ignore, I soon find myself consumed with the idea until at last I set it free through my keyboard. By then, I’m no longer “here”. I am beyond space and time, a vessel for a flow of energy that must be heard, must be expressed and must been seen. Who do I write for? I write for the sake of writing. Excellent post Damyanti.

  • Damyanti says:

    I love the depth and range of replies to this post. Why we write defines us as writers, and it is interesting to know so many writers through the comment board. I apologize for not being able to reply individually– I’ve been traveling.
    Thank you,

  • rondita says:

    Nice post, I love that quote, too. Writing a blog is some kind of therapy to me, to organize my thoughts and the life I’m living. Blogging has enriched my life so much.

  • When I was little, I wrote for myself and I love love loved it. When I got older, I ended up only writing what I was told to write, within the scope I was set. I wrote for my teachers, for my grades, for my degree, for my job… I always wanted to write fiction, but no one told me to. I didn’t write because I didn’t know if anyone would want to read. I’ve finally got over that! I’m writing because I love writing – that’s why I started a blog and started a book. And funnily enough, now I’ve started writing for myself again, people are reading 🙂

  • Of course you write for yourself first, otherwise you’d find something more interesting to do. It’s because writing IS interesting to you that you do it. Then the ego kicks in and you think someone else might like it… And then you work in franchises and much as you love the writing, you are compelled to work to other dictates – in which case you balance your love of writing with the demands of the format. It gets more complex as you progress, but really you just do it because you prefer it to a whole lot of other things you could do with your time. Simple as that.
    PS. thanks for visiting my downtime blog – hope you continue to enjoy it.

  • I write for the story that wants to be told. Sometimes that is frustrating – because I want to write, but nothing comes out. Then a story or poem appears, and says – hey, I’m ready. Quick, get your pen, this won’t wait.

  • I think that writers have to write primarily for themselves. After all, if you are not passionate about what you’re writing, how can you expect anyone else to be?

    I tend to write with the aim of pleasing myself while also hoping that somewhere out there is an audience that will connect with what I am trying to convey and I suppose that a successful writer has both.

  • I write to grow…in order to grow, those around me must grow. Writing is purposeful that way.

  • lawrenceez says:

    A readership. For me, it’s always about having an audience.

  • dweezer19 says:

    I write to express what I feel passionately about in the hope that someone, somewhere, will find something they are also seeking in the message.

  • D.G.Kaye says:

    I write to release what’s in my head, then I look back on it and make it better to share with others who can relate.

  • dondeg says:

    Depends on the purpose of the written piece. It is important to know one’s target audience and write the piece specifically for that audience. I do a lot of professional writing, both as a scientist and a professor. I would not write the same thing for my colleagues as I would for the students – totally different levels of understanding. For my non-professional writing, I tend to write for other people that care about the same things I do, like God, the Planes, altered states of consciousness, and stuff like that. In these cases, I try to write to make otherwise obtuse topics accessible.

    Nice piece! Thanks for sharing! -Don

  • Great point. I write firstly for myself, which is why I like to go back and reread my old stories. After all, if you don’t like what you write, others probably won’t either.

  • inktramp says:

    great note! introspective!

  • farmerbob1 says:

    I write for myself. If asked to write for other people, I wouldn’t even know where to start. This doesn’t mean I won’t write about things that others want me to write about, but I’ll write about it in a way that pleases me.

    If that happens to please other people, then I get a little extra fun out of it.

  • Love that you write for your betta sometimes. The idea of audience is important but let it emerge as your work progresses as it can stymie the process… and too many critics asking that question–about audience–can too. Best, Renee

  • Thank you for liking “Transition.” I enjoyed reading this post and the comments about it. I know audience awareness is an important part of writing, but sometimes caring too much about the audience can give you writer’s block. In addition, Lessing’s idea about writing emerging from living is a thought-provoking one. From my own experience, I find it is a constant struggle to balance the demands of everyday living with the demands of creative endeavors such as art and writing because both take up so much time and energy.

  • David says:

    Thanks for liking my blog. Funnily enough, I am just reading my first ever Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook) and there she is at the top of this page. I am only about a quarter way through but I know already I am going to give her a good review, sometimes, you can know from the very first page or the very first line. I know you are saying why did it take me so long to get to her….well all I can say is that if there is one reason for regretting our short stay here on earth, it is so many books and so little time!

  • jguenther5 says:

    I’ve never thought about it, as far as I know. Unconsciously, maybe. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I write for myself. I don’t even know whether I’d write at all if I thought no one would read what I create. My Christmas letters and poems are directed at friends, year after year, but not anyone in particular. I can’t remember ever thinking anyone would enjoy this or that in a story. Poetry is different; I’ll say no more.

  • Alison Juste says:

    I write for myself. Confession time: when I wrote fanfictions (or write, if I ever dive back in those waters), I would keep writing because I wanted to know what would happen next!
    I still lose myself in my stories when I’m stuck and rereading myself, so… I’d like to think I write for myself first, and then my imaginary readers (and/or friends). ^-^

  • I write poetry to get things off my chest, and to get my thoughts down on paper. Poetry is pretty much an expression of mind!

    As for my stories, I just enjoy making up great plots!

  • marlajayne says:

    Hmmm. That’s too complicated to answer right this moment. Just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed reading a few of your posts today and that I heard an old interview with Doris Lessing on NPR the other day. I think you’d like hearing it.

  • I want to say I write for myself, but somehow I always end up worrying about what the reader would be thinking. This of course, stops me in my tracks. I write mostly educational material now…I suppose I am more confident in that genre than in fiction. I would love to write fiction though!

  • Busy Girl says:

    I write for me. Sometimes when I’m writing I even forget others will read it. I’m pretty hard on myself so if it’s good enough for me, I know it will be good enough for anyone else too. Great post!

  • hitchy says:

    I don’t know if what I think is blogging is also writing…
    I blog so that people would read my views, things i want to share…

    Sometimes I used to write a diary… well that was for me…

    Yes sometimes i do write poems on my blogs and they are just for me… but by and large I think Blogging and writing are two different things… atleast in my opinion

  • R. Lynn says:

    What a perfect quote, and I couldn’t agree more! I enjoy writing about what I’m passionate about and that’s romance.

  • bck1402 says:

    Of course I would write for myself first, and then, hopefully, there are like minded people out there who like what I’ve written,,,,

  • iamcrysh says:

    I totally agree with you there. I created my blog because I wanted to write my soul out and it doesn’t matter to me whether other people read my posts or not, I just wanted to express.

  • dawnhosking says:

    In the first instance it’s for myself as I have creativity bursting to get out 😉

  • Marasatva says:

    Wilde said that all authors needed to write themselves as Christ or Faust before they can write anything else, and there is a theory that writers write well because the entertainment value is the trade they make with the readers to listen to what is essentially wangst.

    The reason can be whatever reason, I think.

    Dante: Infatuation
    Milton: Political smear
    Shakespeare: Money
    Marlowe: Disdain of religion
    Silvia Plath: Revenge on men / daddy issues

    So it doesn’t matter so much what the reason is, so long as you feel strongly about it and write well.

  • melodyspen says:

    My answer is mostly the same as rhchatlien, but maybe a little crazier in the sense that I feel completely obsessed with a new idea/character/storyline until I’ve gotten it down on paper. It will consume my every thought, waking or asleep, until I’ve gotten to a place where I can relax, breathe and take it at a less fanatical pace from there on. In those moments, I’m not thinking of my readers or myself – mostly, I’m writing just for the sake of the story, itself.

    Now, when I’m doing the initial editing, that’s a whole other story! 🙂 Then, I’m thinking of my editors, my readers and a very important beta reader whom I like to try to impress. He inspires me to write better than I ever thought I could.

  • I’m in content edits right now, so I’m writing for my editor. Soon I’ll get to write for me again. And your Beta fish is beautiful!

  • Ste J says:

    writing seems egotistical but I write for me and anyone who is happy or mad enough to come along for the ride is most welcome. especially if they bring chicken legs.

  • Cecilia says:

    That’s a great quote and question. I write for myself with the knowledge that my main readership is “similar” to me – that is, I can safely assume that something I write will resonate with them or at least not be too far out in left field for them. But from time to time I do think a little too much about who I am writing for. I’ll worry about how my story will be received, how an honest opinion about a book will be taken by those who don’t agree, or how many people I will be able to attract with a particular topic. There’s a fine line, but ultimately I think we have to do it for ourselves in terms of staying honest and authentic, and then the rest – the audience – will come, hopefully.

    • epsnider says:

      I write for myself to relieve stress, I write for others to amuse and to bring smiles to their faces and I wrote “Why Me? a Memoir” to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren and hopefully beyond. Children often don’t think to ask questions until it is too late.I know. My father died when I was 16 and there are so many questions I wish i had asked him. ,

  • Gargi Mehra says:

    I definitely write for myself first, and then tweak to fit a market, if required.

  • I once read an interview with a little known French sci-fi writer (if you insist on putting him in to a genre), who’s name I have unfortunately forgotten, in which he was asked who he writes for. He answered, in essence: “I write for me, and for all the other mes out there.” This hits it on the nose for me. I write for myself, and if there are other “mes” out there, in other words people who can relate to, and enjoy reading, what I write, then that’s great, but it is not essential. But that’s just me!

  • I write for my future self, mostly.

  • I know I should write for myself, but truth, it’s for others. I keep trying to express myself–failing, trying again. Art doesn’t work, nor does music. Words? Jury’s still out.

  • I agree with you and others here who have said that you write for yourself. I do that. When I first sit down to write something new it’s to entertain or unburden myself. If the piece starts to work, I do beginning fantasizing about it getting published and finding an audience, but ultimately if I lose interest in it, I can’t keep going with it. So even though I hope my writing will find a wide audience, I think my primary audience is me.

  • rhchatlien says:

    Perhaps this will sound strange, but I write for my characters. I write to tell their stories so they won’t disappear.

    • That sounds like a good idea. I think I will try writing for the character s too. When I finished my novel, after having worked on it so long, I found myself wondering how they were all doing – as if they were real!

  • I write for my sister and my friend who are my first beta readers. I always imagine they are my ideal reader because they read what I read and like what I like, so I imagine it’s people like them who will pick up my book. I pay close attention to what they like and don’t like.

    Right now, I have a new beta reader reading my novel and it’s been great hearing his reactions to different scenes. The fact that he enjoys it makes me happy. It’s changed my perspective on why we write. I want to write to entertain, move, and inspire someone. He seems to be enjoying it and that made me glad.

  • I write for anyone who is kind enough to bother reading. Sometimes I even have to print my stuff out and hand it to someone! or two or… 🙂 Sue

  • Rachael Charmley says:

    Great post. I have often been criticised for not writing with an audience in mind. But actually I do – I write the stories I would like to read… 🙂

  • Sherri says:

    Great post, great quote, thanks so much, I needed to read this today! It can all get so serious that we can forget that we are actually living and then writing, not the other way round! I’m inspired 🙂

  • This is an inspiring quote and an inspiring post ! Although I’m not a “true” writer, but a fashion documentalist, I love to blog for people who’re waiting to be inspired ! Thank you so much for following my blog about fashion inspirations, published in Marseille, France !

  • Aman says:

    I write for my own satisfaction, and if that piece of writing pleases me, then I am sure it will surely please others!

  • Gary Lum says:

    Blogging is my hobby. It’s for me. If I make connections that’s a bonus.

  • Blake Kay says:

    I write for my own sanity, but also for that rare ghost that may connect with what I’m spilling.

  • akarags says:

    I like to think I write for myself first, but some recognition is always good. I am actually reading a Doris Lessing book at the moment, which I started last week, and then read in the news yesterday, that she has passed away…….

  • Baldeep Kaur says:

    I write for myself and then share it hoping it touches a few lives..:)

  • I write for myself it is great and necessary self expression. It is nice if somebody enjoys something I have written or can relate but I have no illusions of making money out of it. I love writing since I was a small child:

  • poetryshack says:

    I used to write completely for the crowd trying to “wow” others. I caught myself trying to be as good as other writers which never worked. Now I simply write, and write firstly because I enjoy it and share some mutuality with others. It has helped me greatly to realize that I first have to be me. Know I’m writing more than I ever have.

    Thx for posting

  • Thank you for reminding us that we have to get out there and LIVE it to write it!

  • This is so interesting. I was just having this same discussion with a friend. I think I write for my inner reader–is that strange? I think of a specific person more often in the sense of not wanting to offend him/her, rather than trying to please him/her.

    A nice succinct, poignant tribute to Doris Lessing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Von Simeon says:

    What perfect timing. Just got a nasty email from a few blogger who called my blog uninteresting. He’s a conspiracy theorist, mind you, and does random reply checks to ensure we’re real followers! Anyways, such a thorn to receive after working so hard on my site. But then, read this, and I got him cleared out of my side! Thank you for providing us such an inspiring quote. 🙂

  • I suppose I write for myself, because if I didn’t write the ideas, characters and stories inside of me would boil over and drive me mad. Great quote!!

  • jazzytower says:

    I write to unload and hope someone else likes it. But I also agonize over it, I don’t know who that part is for. LOL. Nice post.

  • The Siamese Fightger I mean… for writing, I just don’t know. It is communicational I guess! And even if we write for ourselves, if it is not a shopping list, we can imagine someone reading it!

  • I had a female fighter for a long time….a few years in fact. But it is too cold here…just too cold.

  • lumar1298 says:

    I write for me… It keeps me busy and I’m enjoying it which is a plus for me…

  • Paul says:

    When I started my blog, I knew that no one would ever read it, except for one or two friends. That pleased me greatly. I felt free to write whatever I wished, however I wished to write it. I was writing for me.

    Now my blog has a few loyal followers. That makes me happy, but I still write for me. I am aware that knowing people are reading it alters my writing, but I really hope it’s not too much. Whenever I catch myself writing what I think people want to read, I delete the post.

  • I’m with you – I initially write for myself, but that’s taken me awhile to get there. Then, I do think of the reader while editing. If I don’t, it definitely slows me down, or it gets thrown in the draft pile for another day. 🙂

  • Gerber Ink says:

    Reblogged this on Charlotte Gerber.

  • marsreine says:

    A profound quote, especially that last line. Thank you for sharing it.

    I write for both myself and the readers out there that think like me. I get to be creative and satisfy the inner writing demon who demands for more.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    I don’t have any fish to write for, but I can go with the way you’ve broken down the hierarchy. If I’m not interested from the start then I’m not sure I could finish unless it was some sort of paid assignment. And even then…

    Wrote By Rote

  • words4jp says:

    I write for myself. My writing for me is like therapy and letting go of thoughts. If I was a real writer, then, honestly, I would still write for myself, though I suppose there would be some sort of guideline I would need to follow or expectation from somewhere or someone. But I am my strictest critic. :). Great post.

  • archfriar says:

    If you’re good enough it really doesn’t matter because if you are, you’re a writer for all seasons and times and people because the writing itself transcends any putative purpose.

  • Great post. I like to think I write for myself, but that isn’t always entirely true. A part of me is focused on who will read the piece. It’s difficult not to have that in the back of my mind. I’ve had difficulty with my current project. Maybe just writing it truly for myself will help. Always a pleasure to read your blog.

  • I write for the girl I’ll never be, for the girl I almost am.
    I also write in the hope that someone – even if it is just one person – can read my blog and relate. Make me feel as though I’m not so alone, and in turn remind them that someone they’ve never met can connect with them too.

    • “the girl you’ll never be … the girl you almost are”. That’s so poignant. I totally agree with the sentiment that if we can touch one other life with our writing it should be enough. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make a living in the process!!

  • Jerry B. says:

    Who do I write for? That is something I have struggled to answer over the years. I “thought” it was for myself but as the initial writing moved into a regular thing, I found myself trying to write for the reader in the first round. This would end up creating stress and anxiety. Finally, the anxiety would generate writer’s block. Earlier this year, I started writing again and I make a point to ask myself as I site down in front of the keyboard, who is this for? If the answer is not “to get it out of my head”, then I close the laptop and step away.

    Thank you for the post today. It came at the perfect time.

  • You have a smart betta fish then.
    I write equally for me and for my fans now.

  • maedez says:

    I write for my inner fire, and to the great unknown universe in general. I never envision a certain type of person as a reader, but I always have faith that the “right” readers will find my work and appreciate it as is.

    • I can relate to this comment (from Maedez). MY editor kept telling me I was “not writing (my novel A Place in the World) for myself” and I kept thinking “then I can’t do it”. But I guess in the back of my mind I thought that if readers were interested it would appeal to them and that has been the way it is. If they are attracted to multicultural literature and character driven writing then they like it – if they want a fast moving predictable ( which is what publishers are pushing for) plot then probably not.
      “No two readers read the same book.”

    • James says:

      Agree with everyone else. Primarily, I write for my own pleasure. But at the same time, I have a mental image of an audience who might enjoy the writing itself … 🙂

  • kregianmiral says:

    Great write. Just, wow. You don’t know how I feel right now, it’s like a thorn has been taken off, phew! Thank you so much for writing this! I truly deeply appreciate it very much! Keep safe & stay awesome! 🙂

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