Sometimes I forget who I write for.
I know why I write—for myself, because I have a story to tell, because like a shark if I stop writing I die.
I know what I write: dark contemporary YA, if we’re being specific; books and plays if we’re not.
I know when I write: in the morning with a cup of coffee, between classes if I can.
But I forget who I write for, ultimately. It’s shamefully easy to forget when I’m caught up on Twitter or what’s happening in the industry or feeling jealous over this person’s cover or that person’s sales or that person’s deal announcement. I would be lying if I said these things didn’t matter to me, if publishing at all didn’t matter to me. It does.
But that’s not who I write for. I don’t write for other authors on Twitter, nice as they are. I don’t write for Kirkus to someday review my book, I don’t write for a large advance as nice as that someday may be. I don’t write for bloggers, wonderful as they are. I don’t write for my agent, as amazing as she is.
I write for teenagers. And it is astonishingly easy to forget that. But that is my audience, they are ultimately who my books are for–not other authors, not reviewers or bloggers or Booklist. I write for teens, for the stories I needed when I was one. For the queer girl in the rural south who had no friends except literary characters, for the teens I know and don’t know who might need the type of books I write.
They are who I write for. Often I forget that because adults run the conversation, because we barely let teens into YA to begin with.
And this post isn’t to say that I’ll never be caught up in Goodreads reviews or the excitement of other authors reading my book for the first time or for the awe of someday getting a deal, because I will be.
It’s to say in all of that, that I need to remember who I write for. Who I tell stories for.
And I don’t tell stories for a Goodreads review.