Writers are often urged to identify and write for our “Ideal Reader.” Defining this ideal reader shapes the way we write and how our work is marketed by agents and publishers. For example, writing a children's picture book is a very different project from an adult science fiction novel.
In Craft in the Real World, Matthew Salesses points out,
“You can’t control who reads your fiction, but you can control whom you write for.”
- “Fiction is a collaboration between reader and writer. Every reader moves into the story with her own luggage and personal mythos.
- “To be an artist is to be vulnerable and live with the reality that others will misinterpret your stories.”
Ken's advice: Pursue the stories that excite you.
I also find it helpful to focus on the integrity of the story, rather than when (or if) it’ll be published and what editors or potential readers may think of it.
As Jane Smiley said (quoted in Mattew Bell’s blog):
So I write to shape and polish the stories I’m given, to give voice to the characters living in my heart.
With each story or poem I finish, each book draft I revise, I feel an undeniable sense of accomplishment.
Matthew Bell (author of Refuse to Be Done): “No one can take the person you’ve become by writing your book away from you; few outside accomplishments can honestly do more.”