Focus On 'An Audience Of One' To Avoid Creative Fear

Focus on

You'll never make everyone happy, so why try? Author John Steinbeck once said the best way to create is to forget the masses and write for an audience of one.

Picture: Kevin Jaako/Flickr

Steinbeck's advice, printed in an interview in The Paris Review, is geared towards writers, but works for any kind of creative endeavour:

Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theatre, it doesn't exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person -- a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

He says that writing for one removes the "vague terror" you feel when addressing a large audience, and the sense of freedom will help you produce something much greater. Hit the link for the full interview -- it's old, but well worth the read.

John Steinbeck, The Art of Fiction No. 45 (Continued) [The Paris Review]


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