Do you know your audience? Do you know what they need?
Listening to a podcast the other day called Back Porch Writer. The host Kori MIller had a guest, Tony Wilkins, who had two questions to ask potential clients or your potential book audience, or frankly, kinda cool questions to ask anyone:
What do you need? How can I help?
That was it. Those two questions. He said that you’d be surprised at how many people don’t know the answer to the first one (and then they have no idea about the second one if they don’t even know the first one).
As I’m winding down (or is it gearing up?) for my book launch in a month, I’m actually struggling to remember where I was some 1,806 days ago when I started Writing Every Single Day. Where I am now, I don’t have, well, much of anything “in my way.” I’m not struggling, I’m not suffering, I’m not only doing great, I’m thriving.
So how can I reach that person who is just starting out? Or maybe they’re just stuck?
If I listen to Tony Wilkins, I’m going to ask them two questions:
What do you need? How can I help?
If you know what they need, it makes it a whole lot easier to help. Here’s a screenshot of my Reddit thread less than a day after I started it .. on a whim.
Here is a selection of the answers I got from posting the question, “Are you struggling with a regular writing habit?”
- my days aren’t routine anyway
- “I’ve defeated writer’s block.” Uh, do tell? (some wanted to know more about my claim to have defeated writer’s block)
- losing motivation because my own prose sounds terrible to my own ear
- I’ve more or less finished all the “dessert” parts of the book and all that’s left are the “vegetables.”
- The problem is that I don’t know what’s blocking me. I sit down, get ready to write, and just go “meh.”
- I’m uncertain on where I want my story to go. I know the general theme and some plot points. But I don’t see how to get there.
- I just get busy or I’m being lazy or what I wrote yesterday has killed my flow and I need to delete it.
- Laziness. Trying to do something else (losing weight) that is requiring much of my willpower and energies.
- I work a 9-5 job so I’m not able to write during the day.
- I need space to write.
- Work. Every time I have time to write I’m too tired to do anything so I fall asleep in front of my computer.
- ADHD. I’ve honestly given up on any semblance of a regular writing habit– it just leads to guilt and shame-spiraling about how I should be writing, which ends up with me getting waaay less writing done and having twice the anxiety.
- I’m almost out of high school and I want to break into a writing career but the problem is that I haven’t even really begun a writing habit to fall out of in the first place. I think I write pretty decent stuff, I just don’t often write unless I get the chance in a project at school. I hate it, but it’s the truth.
- Working a full-time job.
- I get excited by an idea, I feel awesome and write for a few days. Later when I revisit, I wonder whether what I wrote is actually good enough, should I even tell people around me about what I wrote. Also, my motivation is sporadic.
- I try to write on my lunch breaks. But I don’t like eating and writing. I just like sitting and writing.
That last one really hit me: there is no “perfect moment.” You have to create it for yourself. The beauty of working on a passion is that you don’t have to find time, you make time.
You can no longer ever say that you don’t know what your audience (or customers or clients) want because you can just ask them. People love telling you what’s holding them back. Speaking of writer’s block, it’s so much more fun to write about what’s not working and all of the issues than writing! I love writing about challenges and how they’re killing me and slowing me down and I just can’t write … except here I am writing about what’s not allowing me to write. 😉
If you don’t know your audience and what they want, you might not know your book (or product) as well as you think. Then again, it almost doesn’t matter how well you know your book, it matters how well you can get across the idea (and benefits) of your book to your readers.