On Writing – An Audience of One or One Million

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I touched on an interesting idea in a prior post and I think it’s worth leading with and allowing to breathe a bit: an artist should not be making their work selfishly. I believe that, ideally, any artist should be trying to convey a fact, feeling, idea or moral through their work and they should be cognizant of their audience’s perceptiveness and receptiveness to their subject.

I said previously that there’s not much you can say trying to talk to yourself, so any artist (even one as legendarily self centered as, say Kanye West) is really going to have to be adept at knowing what will speak to their audience. Say what you will about him, but Kanye is incredible at consistently releasing music his fan base is moved by.

I chose The Prestige GIF above somewhat intentionally also- even competition can be a valid direction of your voice. Satire, one upmanship, and outright retort will sometimes produce incredible works and results. Hugh Jackman’s Danton isn’t truly speaking to his audience, they’re a part of his act he’s trying to use to speak to Bale’s Alfred Borden, hence the whole reveal (spoiler) that it was all meant to lure Borden backstage to be framed for murder. The show, his success, the adulation was all a work to speak to Bale- but that doesn’t mean Danton’s audiences were any less enthralled or impressed.

Okay, decades old movies aside, what’s my closing point? I guess nothing I didn’t say in the last post dancing around this same subject: believe in your story. Believe in the message you’re trying to convey and share through your work. Even if you’re speaking and producing your art to just an audience of one, that doesn’t diminish its value. Yes, art is great, but art isn’t great because it makes the world better, it’s great because it makes us better, and you need a message worth sharing that can move, empower, educate, and comfort your audience to really pull that off.

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