I find the questions ‘why you write’ and ‘who is your audience’ is two similar questions, but mean something completely different.
I was the strange kid in the corner who was a just a little bit too slow in picking up the new trends -like Sailormoon and Cardcaptors, and who liked the 'weird' things - like playing Yugioh even though I'm a girl and writing. But being so close in age with my younger brother, it was like I have an automatic friend that would stay with me almost 24/7. Since I was the aspiring writer and my brother the still-undecided, the younger me tried to force my bro into liking the same things as me, namely reading and writing. Little brothers are supposed to listen to their older sisters, right?
My younger brother wasn’t exactly thrilled for my companionship when I turn into my writing mode.
“Just get to the point.” He would tell me when I read an excerpt or a funny part of the story out loud.
“Nobody reads anymore.” He says every other time I held up a notebook with my best handwriting or a typed page to him. “They have movies and video games for this kind of stuff.”
“Please, bro, this is my dream.” I begged, hoping that just this once, he would read at least a paragraph out of a twenty-page story. “I would love some feedback.”
“You have better luck doing studying _insert subject_” He dismisses. “Winning the lottery is easier than being a successful writer. What, so you want to be the next Rowling?”
Worst of all,
“You know I don’t read (for fun. Textbooks for school are the exception that proves the rule).”
I gave up writing during middle school because of those words. What’s the point of writing for an audience if your audience is never interested? Somewhere in this timeline of fifteen-something years of coherent writing, I have turned my reason for writing from writing for myself with a younger brother for an audience into forcing my brother to like the same things I do. At that time, I just transferred to a new school and truly lost all my friends (who also didn’t think listening to my stories was fun). I started watching anime and reading books, turning into this fangirl anime-loving geek. But somehow along the way, I met the people who became the best friends I ever had. Unlike the friends in elementary, these became the people I treasure dearly. Then I came across a quote...
“Write the story you want to read.”
That quote inspired me like no other quote before. No matter how books I read or animes I watched, I was never satisfied. I wished for more heroines like the ones from Tamora Pierce’s books or Katniss from Hunger Games, descriptions as vivid as Brian Jacque’s Redwall series, worlds to fall in love with like Harry Potter and Naruto, styles of storytelling as succinct and intriguing as Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s or DeathNote.
I don’t want to read stories where the heroine is nothing more than a spineless fashion plate, or wonder when Prince/Princess Charming is coming to save the love interest. I want the love interest to struggle, to free themselves and tell the knight in shining armour, “It’s sweet for you to come and meet me, but you’re a bit late to the party, darling.”
So I picked up the pen again and bought a new notebook.
All the times when nobody believed in me came rushing back. But if it wasn’t for those friends who constantly supported me, listened to my rants, fangirled over my characters and helped me hash out my plots, I truly believed I would have stopped writing for real. They know who they are, and for my truest and dearest friends, I write stories.
But somewhere, deep within the bottom of my heart, there is a twelve-year old girl who still dreams that her brother would read her work.
Why do you write?
Who do you write for?