“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion – that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”
I stumbled upon this quote today, and it gave me pause. I have two initial reactions:
- As a creative writer, you should write for yourself. Sedaris is right: You have no control over your readers and how they perceive and interpret your work. I believe poets and lyricists figured that out long ago, and they perhaps view the various interpretations as part of the beauty of the art form. If you have something to say, put it out there.
- As a business writer, you must always consider your audience. Of course you can’t know each individual’s particular quirks or leanings, but it is imperative that you consider perspectives that might differ from your own. Do some research, ask for input from others, get a gut check.
For example, I was driving by a KFC yesterday, which featured this billboard and the tagline “I ate the bones!” I thought, “Wow, KFC must think its customers are really stupid.” I know the marketers were going for clever, but the message was off-putting to me anyway (although I concede that I am probably not KFC’s core target market in the first place).
Assume intelligence among your readers. Let them interpret your creative work as they will, but be savvy about your business messages.
Amy J.V. Atwell is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. She works with businesses to grow their brands through high-quality copy and content. Read more at www.heirloomcommunications.com.