Do you write with a specific audience in mind?

When I'm writing, I quite often beat out the rhythm or walk around trying to get the right rhythm on the poem, and so I do think about the audience a bit. Sometimes I write a poem specifically for somebody, and sometimes I name them, sometimes I just think "Hey, would Albert understand this, or would Celia like this bit, would it make them laugh?" With plays, of course, it's even more: when I'm writing a play for children, I think about my grandchildren and I think "Would Lola understand this? What would Lola like in this play? She likes ponies very much: maybe I could get a pony in this play..." And so it's very good, I think, to write for a particular person, to have that person at the back of your mind - not necessarily when you're writing your first draft but when you're thinking about your first draft and rewriting and thinking "Would this work for this person?" Because all the great children's writers, for instance, wrote for particular children -Lewis Carroll wrote for Alice, the real-life Alice, Edward Lear wrote for the children of his friends, Beatrix Potter wrote for specific children that she knew. And that's a good guide, I think: you don't write for children in general because it doesn't work, there aren't any children in general. You don't write for adults in general, you write for your friends. Or your enemies, if you like. Write with somebody in mind, maybe. Or re-write with somebody in mind. Because poetry is a gift, so the only point is to give it. I mean, just writing for yourself, well it may satisfy you, but it's no use to me or anyone else. Poetry is a gift so give it with open hands.


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