STOP Blaming Your Audience

He took a sip of his coffee and lamented, “People just don’t pay attention to me. When I hit publish, no one reads what I have to say…no one cares.”

 

Don’t do it! Even though your audience is an easy target, an easy scapegoat, don’t blame them.

When our work is met with silence, it is easy to point the finger at the preoccupied people around us, if only they cared more. 

We forget that caring about our work is not their responsibility. Unless of course we have paid them to pay attention (editors, coaches…), we cannot expect them to.

 

Every magician knows, attention is captured.

Mystery is built.

Even street performers know, the greatest trick is getting people to look.

Without an audience’s attention, all tricks are pointless.

 

Once attention is captured: put on a show. An unforgettable irresistible show. Don’t waste their attention.

Too many of us are playing to silent rooms and slip into a mindset of blaming our audience: the very people we say we are trying to reach and encourage.

We’ve forgotten that our audience owes us nothing.

 

When we only focus on the act of creating or writing, we forget to pay attention to our audience.

Our audience is busy.

Our audience is distracted.

Our audience feels like they are running out of time. There are never enough hours in the day.

Our audience says no to a million distractions a day. 

Is your art worth saying yes to?

 

To stop the blame game, ask yourself these questions, what captures my attention? 

Don’t stop there!

 

Now that you know what you care about, focus on your audience.

Begin with the question, what do they care about?

Stay curious.

What do they dream about? Where do they shop? What makes them laugh? What are they struggling with? What are their pain points?

What are their desires, dreams, hurts, needs, passions, wants… 

Keep asking these questions until you are clear on who your audience is. So clear that you can dream their dreams, feel their pain and picture them in your mind.

 

Now that you know who they are:

  • capture their attention
  • speak their language
  • perform for them
  • draw them in
  • seduce them like a lover speaking to the depths of their heart.

 

Make them think you read their journals and secret letters. Make them think you’ve lived their story. You’ve probably lived a version of it, which is why you are so passionate about helping your audience.

Although you are the vessel for your art and your art is highly personal, your legacy is all about your audience. Will they remember your message and story?

 

If you blame them, you will never reach them. 

When my energy is going towards blaming my audience for not being a better audience, I am wasting my time and attention. My art stagnates because I am caught in loathing the very people I hope to reach. Instead of improving and adjusting the delivery of my art to speak to my audience, I am lamenting the fact that they are deaf, which they are not.

 

Instead of blaming your audience, ask yourself, why didn’t that post or piece resonate with them? 

If you are brave, ask a few safe people for honest and helpful feedback. They must be safe and have the best interest of you and your art in mind. They must be kind. Be wary of critics who believe they can save you through soul crushing honesty.

 

When I was a teenager, I laughingly told my friends, I’m not eavesdropping. I’m a writer. To write, we must listen.

This is different than allowing others to dictate our art. To invite others into our art, we must learn the doorways they long to enter.

When your work falls on silent ears, there are so many areas to consider: topic, presentation style, images used, solutions offered, tone, where it was shared, when it was shared, was it shared to YOUR audience…and so much more.

As we write and grow as writers, let’s put the responsibility for engagement on our own shoulders.

The last thing we want to do is blame the very people we are trying to reach.

 

There is a movement of UNSTOPPABLE WRITERS brewing. For a private invitate & a copy of our MANIFEST, CLICK HERE.

This is the second of the STOP IT series. You can read the first post HERE

Originally published on Medium on 9/18/2017.

 

2 Comments

  • Rebecca

    November 12, 2017

    Hi Deanne,

    I really much appreciate your writing. You indeed make me feel you know why you’re passionate about writing and you show me why I am passionate about it as well.

    I love that you produce new articles regularly!

    Rebecca

  • dwelsh

    November 20, 2017

    Thank you Rebecca!

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