Stephen King discusses the concept of the Ideal Reader in his book On Writing. An Ideal Reader is who you write for, the one person you most want to impress. Preferably, this is a real person, and not an imaginary ideal. His was his wife, Tabitha.
Who do you want most to impress with what you do? Once you find the Ideal Reader of your life, you will know how you want to live it.
Why the “Ideal Reader” concept works
This concept makes sense because you cannot write for a vague ‘everybody’. On the other hand, no writer writes for just himself, else he would simply journal and not bother making his writing public.
With regard to living in general, many of us may also have an Ideal Reader. For example, some people have God as their Ideal Reader. This is the person they live to please, whose approval they seek. For others, the Ideal Reader may be a parent, or their child.
Your Ideal Reader may be you
On the other side of the fence, some say that a writer just writes what he has to write. According to this view, the writer has ideas and values in his heart that he simply needs to express, addressed to no one in particular. If his writing is any good, the audience will find him.
In the same vein, you may choose to live life for yourself and no one else. You are your own Ideal Reader, and live to please no one except yourself.
You cannot please everyone
Lately I’ve struggled with writing this blog because there are four groups of readers.
1. People who find this blog through a search engine. These people don’t know me and don’t care to. They’re just after specific information, and may click an advertisement on their way through.
2. Regular readers are leave comments and let me know that someone out there is reading this stuff I write. For this group, I wrote How to Write A Personal Creed which I’m happy to say made the rounds in the personal development blogging niche.
3. Specific people in my life whose opinions I care about. I don’t talk to them about the blog but should they find it on their own, I would like them to like it. Parallel Universes was written for one such person.
4. Finally, I write for me. If I write something that I can’t feel proud of, I will delete the draft. I wrote Let Go of Expectations as a reminder to myself on how to live my relationships.
Do you find this concept useful?
When I remembered Stephen King’s advice on writing, I realised that I need to decide who my Ideal Reader is. Only then will this blog have a clear focus. The same goes for my life, and yours too.