My Ideal Reader

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“Someone – I can’t remember who, for the life of me – once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person…

Call that one person you write for Ideal Reader. He or she is going to be in your writing room all the time: in the flesh once you open the door and let the world back in to shine on the bubble of your dream, in spirit during the sometimes troubling and often exhilarating days of the first draft, when the door is closed.”
~ Stephen King, from On Writing

I’m convinced that by focusing on that person helped me to get my writing noticed by publishers. In order to do so, I first had to pull back for a while and think, why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for?

The first question was pretty easy to answer. I’m doing this because I love it. I don’t want any other career but writing. End of story.

Who I’m doing this for was an even easier question.

I’m writing for that person who was me, who still IS me several times a year. That person sitting bedside in a hospital room or who has to leave their loved one behind in a hospital. I’m writing for the woman who’s sitting in bed on some Ronald McDonald house anywhere in the country who’s never going to get any sleep and who’s praying that the phone doesn’t ring, because if the phone doesn’t ring, that means everything is okay. Just get through the next hour, the next few hours, until the sun shines. Just sit by the hospital bed and pray that the machines don’t stop beeping, pray that staying awake is enough to ward off all the evil spirits hovering near their loved one.

And if I can take someone like that and give them something that can pull their minds away from that scenario – for even ten minutes at a time – if I can make them smile, if I can make them clutch that book to them like a lucky charm whenever they have to go back into the hospital with a loved one, then I’ve done what I set out to do. Because that’s my version of paying it forward – that’s what romance novels did for me.

When I focused on that person – everything else fell away.

So take some time and figure out who your person is, the one person you’re always going to write to please. And by pleasing that one person, I can guarantee you’ll please a lot more readers than you ever thought you could, because whatever you write from the heart is going to resonate, loud and clear.

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