It’s all about the reader

Writers often think it’s our job to write. But it’s not. Our job is to tell a good story for our readers. And that story is not about us at all. It has nothing to do with who we are, where we came from, where our journey has taken us, what school we went to or who we know. It’s all about the story – what happened, and why a reader should bother to care.

I’ve heard most readers don’t notice bylines on newspaper or magazine articles. Years after reading a great novel, a reader might not remember what the title was or who the author was, but will certainly recall the plot: “Oh, that book where the plane crashed and everyone had to band together to survive.”

So in the writing process, it’s crucial that we forget about ourselves entirely. We need to completely remove ourselves from the work, close our eyes and give ourselves over to the creative process. When we revise, we need to put ourselves in our readers’ shoes and cut or add or embellish or scale back based on what a reader might want, not the sometimes-grand ego of an author.

If we remember it’s all about the reader, our work will be infinitely better.