The Fear of Writing: Miscommunication


There are many valid reasons to fear writing.

They include the dislike of literature, a disdain for writing, and a lack of desire if writing isn’t your career, and many more which I can’t think of…

And then there’s the fear of miscommunication.

It is utterly ridiculous to allow the fear of miscommunication to halt your desire and attempts at writing. Of course, the experience of readers are never exactly alike. We have been through a vast number of happenings which differ and even in situations where the same scene happens to multiple people their reactions can and usually are far and wide a part. But this is nothing to be afraid of.

Writing for a large audience means understanding them.

For a long time I held the notion that I did not write poetry for a specified audience. But this is entirely incorrect. The reason for the misconception was my lack of thought on the matter. To write a research paper I build a person with target audience outline. I think through the process and note the results. While writing I keep this person in my thoughts at all times, defining, and explaining the bits which this person would not be able to comprehend fully.

No such actions go into writing poetry of any sort, or so I thought. In poetry writing, I cocoon myself in emotion and then begin. Pretty basic, pretty simple. But that’s not the end of it. After the poem is written it is read to ensure clarity for someone who isn’t in my thoughts. To do this it is logical to think that a sketch has been made of the audience. But apparently, I’m not as logical as I previously assumed. For several years when asked about my target audience, I responded that I didn’t write for a specific audience. But I do.

Based on the manner in which I write poetry my target audience falls within the border of 18 to 45 year olds who are fluent in Standard English completed high school believe that God exists, that all humans are equal, and are willing to have their opinions challenged with the aim of understanding people and the world a little more. This profile is quite simple. It doesn’t take into consideration economic background, or political views, or religious beliefs on a deeper level (this I leave for those poems which are of a spiritual nature). But that isn’t all.

A surface understanding isn’t really understanding at all.

So I dig deeper. The real diversity come in the audience world views. There are many persons who believe or say they believe in the equality of all humans without believing in it entirely. Some think women can vote, but shouldn’t have equal say in a household after marriage, or shouldn’t hold positions of authority. Others believe that races shouldn’t have intimate relationships. And there are a barrage of other groups that intermingle at times. These groups are of great importance mainly because they are easy to overlook. A poem isn’t as fortunate as a book to have one error made and have it overlooked. Poems due to their compact nature need to be more precise. A misplaced pronoun can undo the effect of a poem. Hence the importance of knowing and understanding the intended readership is even more important.

Writing for diverse groups is a game of limitations.

Despite the fact that people are all similar, our differences in opinions allow feminists to believe that men should open doors, and also for the opposite, both being described as respect for women. Cases like these are many, and a writer desirous of writing for feminist must write between the factions within the group if the intent is to reach the majority. It feels much like walking a tightrope across the Niagra.

Writing for diverse groups is not impossible.

Once you know who you are writing for, and what you are writing about the process becomes easier. The need to tackle five points simultaneously is useless. Giving each point its own stage makes the possibility of alienating sections of the intended audience less likely. To go big, you must begin small. If this task feels too small think of all of the subgroups in the audience.

Miscommunication can be eliminated.

This process begins in the second round of edits. In the first it’s about the story being told, how effective it is, grammatical and typographical errors, and whether or not it is as emotionally gripping as I’d like it to be. In the second the piece is read intently searching for words that are unnecessary or excessively emotional in a way that is off putting for the Niagra tightrope group. Words which fall into those categories are removed, and changed. Sometimes one word can cause the need for a phrase, line, or sentence to be changed.

In the next editing session, the pieces is read to ensure that its clarity, flow, and message are still in tact, and I note whether or not the symbols which generally carry two meanings are really suitable. If one of the possible meanings carries a nuance which subtracts from the message being delivered, more changes are made.

The end result is generally something I’m proud of. At this point, I go to my trusty band of acquaintance. Though they do not fall into the categories that a writer might fear they give me a chance to see the first reactions to the piece. Whenever someone reads a piece of mine I watch their eyes, lips, and their body in general for slight changes sometimes quick, instinctual reactions. I then question based on those reactions and the given review. Then I edit again if there’s a need, and read the piece for a final time.

Writing for a wide audience is a big deal. Once you know your goal, and who you’re writing for half the battle is won. You don’t need to have a written profile of your audience, unless you need it. I work in both spheres: writing and referring to a profile at times, and at other times I leave it in my mind. Writing and editing with your goal and audience is mind is the other half of the battle. If you’re not a fan of editing, I’m certain you’re a fan of its results. Think of all the horrid pieces you’ve read in any genre which could have been better with some editing. Do you want to be that writer? I certainly do not.

Who’s your audience? Do you write a profile, or not?

Do forgive my tardy post. I’ll give you details on the reason next week. It’s not simply because I’m a procrastinator…or maybe it is. Nonetheless you’ll have to wait for next Tuesday’s post to find out. 😉


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