Musing On The Question: For Whom Do You Write

“For whom do you write?” That’s the provocative question that Janie posed at Colloquium. I decided to ask that question of my Muse — that “inner child” of mine who is the inspiration for my creativity. Ask a silly question question of a silly person, and here is what you get.

OK, Muse. For whom do we write?

What’s do you mean “we,” Kemosabe? I’m the one who does all the real work around here. All you do is type.

That’s not true! And besides, you are forgetting that we are the same person!

We are NOT! We aren’t the same at all! YOU have forgotten how to be “childlike.”

I have not!

Have, too!

Have NOT!

Have, too!


OK, you are right. You still act like a child.

Stop it! I’m asking a serious question here: for whom do we write?

I don’t know about you, but I write for chocolate.

*sigh* Seriously, Muse. Janie thinks that no matter what we say we are writing for our audience. I think I write for myself. I write for the love of writing.

Not true. If you wrote for the love of writing you wouldn’t censor me. I wrote that great post about drag queens the other day and you deleted it!

I did that for the love of my audience. I didn’t want to offend anyone.

No, you just write to please people. If you “loved” your audience, you would write stories that caused them to step outside of their comfort zone. You would trust them.

What's love got to do with it?

What's love got to do with it?

Hey! Stop it, Muse!

Oops. How did that get in here?

I’m trying to be serious here!! Answer the question!

Can we dress up like pirates? I wanna wear my new pirate boots.

After you answer the question. You are hurting my feelings! All I want to know is: For whom do we write?

Aw, Shel, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. OK, I’ll tell you why and for whom you write (because I have to admit that I wouldn’t be here without you). Shelly, you write for both the audience and for yourself. You like to make people laugh and make them think. You tell it all in your Texas twang … even though you really don’t talk like that unless you want to, because you think you connect better with the audience when you talk as if just two of you are in the room.

And, no matter how much I tease you about it, you really do have a childlike wonder. When you find something new, you want to share. You are like a little kid who has found an interesting bug, calling to your friends, “Hey, y’all! Lookit!”

But, you also write for yourself, because storytelling is in your blood. Heck, you talk stories in your sleep, so you have to tell stories whether you have an audience or not!

You think so, Muse?

Yeah. And, you also write because the page is blank and you don’t know how to draw. And you write to make up for the fact that your little sister never let you get a word in edgewise, and you…

That’s enough! You can stop there.

Great. Now can I wear my new pirate boots?



There you go, but you don’t look like Johnny Depp.

That’s OK. I was going for the Keith Richards look since you have all those wrinkles.

Well, I guess that’s what the Muse has to say about it all. These are the questions that Janie asked, “For whom do you write? How do you ascer­tain the iden­tity of your tar­get audi­ence? How do you gear your writ­ing to that group? ” I was afraid to go ask the rest of them of my Muse. Lord knows what she might have said. If you’d like to address those questions, check in at Colloquium and let Janie know your answers. I hope yours are better than mine!

  12 comments for “Musing On The Question: For Whom Do You Write

  1. Essessyou
    January 26, 2010 at 8:35 am

    This reminded me of one of Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules For Writing:
    Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. I would have mentioned it to you as you were composing this posting — but I wanted to be accurate! But whoever it is you write for, your writing always pleases me. PS: your new pirate boots kick… Well, you know 🙂

    • January 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

      Oh, is that how come I’m sick right now 😆

      I couldn’t do my writing without you Sweet Spousal Unit.

  2. January 26, 2010 at 10:36 am

    YIKES!!! I have never asked that question. Honestly. Is it selfish if I say “MEMEME!!!” And that I write for me largely because I communicate better on the written page or computer screen than I do verbally. Always have.
    .-= fairweatherlewis´s last blog ..Take This Tune: Heartbroke, Anybody? =-.

    • January 31, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      I wish I could communicate on screen as well as I do verbally. I’m just the opposite, I think. But, I like to write….when the Muse allows.

  3. January 27, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I think I told you one time, that I was a pirate in a former life, long before Depp and those pirates. I even had my own ship.
    I have saved everything I have written, either for my blogs or whether or not it has been posted. My feeling is that when I’m long gone, the Grand kids will have it to do with what they will.
    I imagine I am at a coffee shop, or a bar, or in someone’s company and they ‘want’ to hear what I am saying. I am talking to someone. I also write to an audience, but as I proof read, I write for myself as well.
    Like everything else, I don’t consider myself a writer. that determination is for someone else to decide. Like being an artist, and Elder, a craftsman or a writer.
    I love to tell stories too, but I lack resolve as I don’t have the confidence, (I’ll add the word yet). Maybe someday.
    Good to think about. Thanks for asking the question.

    .-= Spadoman´s last blog ..Feeding America =-.

    • January 31, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      You should have the confidence, Joe. I love to read what you write. I always get caught up in your stories. But, I like that you are preserving your history for the grandkids. They are going to treasure your words!

  4. January 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Fairweather pretty well said it for me. It is the way to unclutter all the ideas rambling around the brain. It is simply easier to push a pen or the keys and blogging makes it possible to communicate easily with people that I might not otherwise meet.
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Mischa =-.

    • January 31, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      It doesn’t “unclutter” for me. It usually just sends me down another cluttered path…

  5. January 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    J. D. Salinger passed away today at 91, but even he took time to answer your question first.

    “I love to write and I assure you I write regularly,” Salinger said in a brief interview with the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate in 1980. “But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it.”
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Mischa =-.

  6. January 29, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I love what you write, too – and especially love your wars with Ms. Muse.
    Too many words in my head and I can’t carry a tune and can’t draw – and people want to quiet my mouth… writing is quiet – except when they read between the lines I wrote ; )
    .-= Marcia´s last blog ..Poetry is not all about flowers =-.

    • January 31, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      I’m glad you like my wars with my Muse. I am never sure if it’s just narcissism when I write about her/us.
      Your writing? Ahhhh. That’s all I have to say. I like reading between the lines when you write.

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