In my writer’s group, there are all kinds of writers. Poets, Literary writers, romance writers, teen writers. Of all genres. All levels of experience. What I’ve noticed is that many of us deny that we’re writing for an audience. “Oh, this is just for me,” we say and shrug.
I get it. It’s scary to be read by people you don’t know or think you don’t know. Sometimes it’s easier to pour everything into a story that you think no one will read. I’m the only one who could possibly feel like this, no one will understand.
When I was working on my novel “Black Light,” I was still sorting out my feelings about being asexual, and I poured all my insecurities into one character. I felt raw, exposed. It wasn’t a comfortable place to work from, but it was the right one. As David Bowie said, “If I start to feel comfortable with what I’m doing, I know to go in the other direction.”
When the book got published, that exposed feeling came back. I realized that I couldn’t control what people thought of me once it was out in the world, but it didn’t stop me from wishing that I could. And there were readers that misunderstood, that made me feel like I should have kept it to myself. Not many, but some.
But there was one man who bought the book, and then came to find me. He told me that I loved it and saw a lot of himself in it. He told me that he kept it at the side of his bed so he could read it when he woke up in the middle of the night.
And that was when I found my audience.
I found that I wasn’t alone after all. And that’s why we write. To know we’re not alone.