Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why I Write: For an audience

If my writing isn't working for an audience, it isn't really working, regardless of whether I like it.

To return for a moment to my previous post, it's taken a long time for me to accept the idea of writing for myself. All that matters is I should be happy with a script, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of the script as long as I like it.

That's a worthy impulse as far as it goes, and it's certainly good when it comes to actually writing the script, when I don't need a lot of internal distractions.

But ultimately I am also writing for an audience.

I don't chip away for years at scripts (or ideas for scripts) simply for them to end up in a bottom drawer (or a box on top of the closet in my case). That's where they often end up, but that's not what I intend for them when I start on them.

I do get something out of these scripts or ideas that never see the full light of day. I get a huge amount out of them. But not everything that I hoped for them.

Part of what drives me onwards into the next script is the idea that this one will really get made, and an audience will get something out of it.

I use the words 'an audience' rather than 'the audience'. Not everyone needs to like or relate to everything I write. It's taken me a long time to accept that as well.

But someone (and preferably a lot of someones) have to get something out of what I've written. Otherwise frankly the script isn't good enough. That's why it's living in a box.

1 comment:

Helen Rickerby said...

It's a curious balance isn't it. If you write too much for an audience, you would be constantly trying to figure out what they wanted, and would be constantly disappointed that not everyone loved it, which they wouldn't. At times when I've been overly aware of an 'audience' and what they might think of the poem I'm just about to write, I found it paralysing. I find it easier to concentrate more on what I want to write or explore and whether I like it, in order to get anything written. But if you're writing entirely for yourself, you could end up writing incomprehensible twaddle. And if it's only for you, what's the point in sharing it at all.