Role of the Audience

“Remember who your audience is!”

“Use language your auidence will understand!”

“You have to write this assignment using this style and these guidelines or you will fail!”

It was all about the audience and writing in the way I am told for all my life. On the other hand, William Zinsser wrote a chapter in defining what he believed to be the true role of the audience in his book titled, On Writing Well

Zinsser says, “You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.” Throughout my education, I quckly came to realize early on that in order to get a good grade on a writing assignment I had to write in the way the teacher wanted and this has never changed. Many students dread doing anything that involves writing because it’s either do it the way the teacher says or fail and it doesn’t allow room for creativity and the students style of writing. Imagine what could have been created if we were allowed to write in the style that made us happy.

Everyone has opinions on what is a great piece of writing versus what isn’t. For many, this can make the writing process harder than it needs to be. Zinsser makes a point in that the right audience will come along and you don’t need to worry about those who don’t get or like your writings. 

As I look back at everything Zinsser said about the audience, the most important tool to use when you are writing is to be yourself. I completely agree with this statement because if you are not then what will the writing say about you. Most of the audience will only know the author through their writings, so they can get a sense of who they are through the pieces. So while you are writing be yourself and the rest will follow.

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