The undeniable cycle of writing

I’m a marketer. Even though I have no formal degree in marketing, over the last six years, my work experience has taught me many things. One of those, which is also regarded as the most important, is knowing your audience.

I write marketing copy for the web. And that means I need to know my audience. I need to identify who exactly I’m talking to and speak to them in their language. My tone, choice of words, and even the length of my sentences depend on the capacity of my audience. Absolute precision in words and messaging is necessary. No compromises. Every piece I write begins with an audience analysis.

But then, I also write poetry. And poetry doesn’t have an audience.

Curious contrast, eh?

I attended at a poetry festival recently, and while discussing about who they write for and why, a group of panelists unanimously agreed that they write for themselves. At least at first. And that’s the underlying truth for all forms of art. No one starts creating art because they have an audience waiting for it They start because they can’t keep it in themselves any longer. 

I write short stories, poems, and random ramblings (like this one) because I have to get them out somehow. Creative writing is an outlet, a necessary drain to flush down the overflowing ideas and thoughts that’d otherwise clog my brain and leave me a walking pile of stink.

Therefore when I write, I write for myself. I write to make myself feel better, to clear my chest, and to put my mind at ease. And through that inane need to pop the bulging bubble in my head, I end up creating an audience that relates to whatever I put on paper.

Still, even though I write these poems and stories to satisfy my own needs, they also need a platform. Sometimes I’m happy to tuck my work away from the rest of the world, but more often than not, I want to share my work with others, to thrill them just as my favourite writers thrill me.

As long as I only want to write stuff and don’t care if anyone reads them at all, I don’t have to worry about marketing. But the moment I let my ambition get the better of me, the moment I crave acknowledgement and recognition even, I need to start thinking about audience and how to say what I want to say in a way that makes them want my work. Therefore comes marketing.

My point: Marketing is everywhere. And we all have to market ourselves at some point. Can’t say I like the idea, but can’t deny it either.