LawProse Lesson #408 The Importance of a Writer’s Audience

LawProse Lesson #408 The Importance of a Writer’s Audience

“I’m ready for my public now,” the late Dame Edna Everage used to say. Less jokingly, a writer might say, “I’m ready for my readers now.”         

But what does the writer’s statement mean? It means that, as a writer, you have an ever-present awareness of your audience. It’s a matter of psychological preparation. If you write in a vacuum, you’ll bring little or no enthusiasm to your task. Yet if you think of somebody (preferably, some specific person you know) for whom you’re writing, you’ll be more fully committed to the task. So if you don’t have a reader in mind, invent one.         

Once you’ve envisioned a reader, a difficult idea will challenge you to convey it clearly and precisely. Convincing a hostile or indifferent audience will tax your powers of persuasion. Your convictions will take on new meaning and depth as you search for imaginative ways to induce your audience to agree.         

You can do an effective job in writing only when you’re committed to the truth and to the importance of what you have to say. Only through sincere attempts to reach others will you come to sound more and more like the voice of reason.         

That’s a voice that’s fit for just about any audience.

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