Whispering a story. Urgently.

As an unpublished writer, I don't have the particular problem of owing my fan base too much (hi, Mom). And it's prettying boring to muse much about what an editor, agent, publisher, etc. expect from me since they expect nothing. So going into this topic, I felt lost.

Then I remembered that several weeks ago, Katherine emailed some of us with a kick ass link on dealing with the perils of writing. The post was by Julianna Baggotton Writer Unboxed and was simply brilliant. However, one particular thing dug its thumbprints into my brain matter:

Get rid of all notion of audience except for one person. This one person might be a friend, a child of yours, or a younger version of yourself. Now whisper the story you want to tell into this one ear – urgently.

That sort of mind-bender demands paraphrasing. Forget all but one person...an imaginary person possibly...and whisper yourstory to them. Urgently.

I love this because it applies to every writer...from bestsellers to bums like me. It's a remedy to those of us with no audience and to the others with too many ears listening in. It implies that we have the same problems writing for faceless masses or empty amphitheaters in that writing for either strips the intimacy out of storytelling. A huge audience adds so much pressure to perform. While telling a tale to an empty room feels pointless. However, picturing that one person to hear our story gives it purpose and closeness that good writing needs.

Over the past month, I've been trying to tell my WIP to one (imaginary) ear. Honestly, there are days when it feels like my desk is the vacant Roman Colosseum and I'm sitting there, wondering if there's a point. But there are far more days when I've got my mouth close the head of my quiet, but encouraging listener and I'm whisper-shouting my story. Urgently.


I love this take on audience. In his writing book, Stephen King says something similar, that his first audience is always his wife, and that's who he's trying to impress. I've been looking for my audience of one, but hadn't thought to make it a version of my younger self!

My audience of one tends to be myself, and I'm an easily distracted, easily bored, easily frustrated reader. I can be such a harsh critic! Maybe I need to find a new someone to whom I can whisper. -RYAN

A great way to exclude your internal editor, too! LOL

Thanks for the post, Bret. I had read and appreciated Julianna's post, but definitely needed reminding.

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