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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

E. B. White

"Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one."

American Writer
1899 - 1985

People today are often told to target their audience and write what their audience wants to read.  The same applies to artists and other creative leaders.  Young singers on American Idol are encouraged to know the audience their music most appeals to.  And there is some truth in this philosophy.  You can find success writing, singing and painting for a particular audience, both financially and personally.  And as creative leaders we do want success.  

But great writers and artists create for themselves and wait for their audience to find them.  Because if you are not satisfied by what you create, you will ultimately disappoint yourself.  You will feel that you betrayed your gift to secure the almighty dollar.  Your job is to satisfy that deep need within yourself to create what you choose to create.  

I have written poetry for over 35 years with little commercial success.  Yet I have written what I wanted and needed to write.  And maybe some day long after I am dead, my writing will find an audience.  And maybe it won't, but at least I have been true to myself.