I Forgot My Audience! A Different Kind of Writer’s Block

MaryRose Cobarde Candare
4 min readMay 24, 2023
What to write and how, when you don’t know your audience yet?

It is easy to write. Quite another thing to find readers that connect with your content. Readers. Audience. Yes, it’s pretty basic. You do need to have your reader in mind even before beginning to write. Or do you?

I am not a newbie writer, but I sure feel like one for losing sight of my prospective audience. I thought that with years of ghostwriting experience, I already had a handle on the fundamental value of keeping your readers in mind — front and center, from start to finish.

But alas, the mistake of forgetting your audience, often taught in basic writing class, is one I recently realized I might actually be making.

I suppose I got preoccupied with writing to merely express my thoughts, ideas, inspiration (mostly stemming from my upcoming book What if the Future Comes?) — my seemingly fixed agenda not realizing who I’m talking to or if anyone would or should care to listen, at all.

I was focused on sharing tidbits of my own mental soup, I forgot to make them digestible enough or sufficiently nourishing to others who might have a slightly or perhaps a widely different taste preference.

How did I realize this?

Feedback. I found myself talking to people I know who cared enough to click for me. How they reacted to my stories mostly centered on my writing ability, assuring me I could write. To my delight a few others delved into specifics about the points I made and how it resonated with them. What triggered this story were comments that suggested that my style was rather too formal and “deep.” I quickly sensed a disconnect. Not that a writer’s goal is to write for everyone. I mean there is no ‘one size fits all’ for any type of content. Still, I want to soak in any valuable perspective to inform my process.

So, I’m going back to basics and ask myself…

Do I have an audience? Sure, I do. I mean for starters, there’s the people who I know, and I can personally reach out to — friends, family, colleagues.

Would I be able to grow my audience? That is a tough one. No quick routes to winning a good following. Of course you should eventually build a relationship with an audience base, but before that can happen, first you have to be clear about what you really want to say and who you want or need to connect with. So, let’s backtrack a bit and ask…

Who is my ideal audience? This is worth asking. To whom is my brand of content relevant or useful? Before I could create an audience or customer profile, I must get to know my message first and carve a unique voice with which to deliver that message. I need to remember I am not writing for someone else anymore. I am writing as me. I should look out for patterns to my writing that I could drive towards being useful and actionable. Yes, as a note to myself, I need to put out content more often. Test the waters for both me and my reader. As I gain clarity and feedback, I could then zoom in on a specific niche or broaden my base to include a wider reach.

For now it is hard to pinpoint my primary audience unless I run a steady stream of stories and connections. I need to work on this passion to make it work. For most beginner writers, content is all they have that they know with some certainty because it stems from their knowledge, interests or specific expertise. Who the content is suited for is uncertain because one might reasonably think of a specific target audience and end up connecting with a different crowd.

This is not to say that content is always fixed while the audience is flexible. In fact, one needs to get to know and grow with your audience enough to eventually tailor your style and substance according to what would really help them.

So how do I know my people? Right now, I’m just working with the few that I encounter in between posts. No, not tempted to seek an AI writing assistant although I could certainly use data-driven insights now and then. I write and learn as I go. Your feedback matters. A clap is encouraging but sharing (privately if you wish) your takeaway, your favorite points in my story would go farther into taking me on a clear path to meeting my reader eye to eye.

--

--

MaryRose Cobarde Candare

wonderer, author, content creator, editor, teacher and lifelong learner