Audience. Do you have one?

The world is a crazy place. Last week there was the possibility of nuclear war (which isn’t completely out of the picture) and now this week we are plagued with a threat of American Nazism. It may be a strange jump, but I thought I’d take this weeks post to talk about audience. The main reason the flash fiction is making its comeback is supposedly due to the decreased attention spans of the general public.

Let’s face it, it’s true. I’d bet nearly a third of the American population and possibly even that much of the world population (if not more) could be diagnosed with the all too common Attention Deficit Disorder or A.D.D. This is not a disregard for the actual disorder mind you. I’ve worked with students who have the disorder and students with various other disorders and they are real and vary greatly and do cause issues when learning material or staying focused. Many cases are validated and diagnosed correctly. On the other hand, the general public is also somewhat idiotic on average and can’t pay attention to anything longer than a minute unless it’s for their direct, selfish gain or a sudden medical need (which can be argued as a selfish gain, but lets not go into that debate right now).

The point I’m making is we are overstimulated and have a trillion different options for entertainment at any given time (and that might just be on Youtube alone). I can’t help but fell, as an artist, the pull to dumb down my work to fit the trend the general public wants at this particular minute of the day just to have an audience. But of course I, as an author, might be a bit stuck up and believe my work is the shit (when it very well might be actual shit instead of “the” shit). Author’s are often weird that way with their work. Once moment we think it’s the best thing ever written in history, and the next we think it’s the worst and that we are wasting our lives. Being an author is similar to having bipolar disorder (of course I wouldn’t know, maybe?, what that would actually be like).

Anyway, back to the topic. Audience. Artists are always hoping for or looking for, or even considering directly, the audience their art is for. Also, sometimes we create just for ourselves and let the audience for the work find the work. But there is almost always some audience for any work. Yes, despite my earlier comment about the convolution of entertainment, there is an audience for your work (and maybe even mine). Some artists produce work for years before they people notice and some artists make only one thing that catches the eyes of the masses. It’s really up in the air. You can play the trend and hope for the best or feed the masses insignificant dribble to satisfy their thirst for the day, but work of that kind rarely lasts or has any meaning. “But how do you get people to like your work?” Don’t. Don’t try to make people like your work. Just make your work the way you like it and the right kind of people will find it eventually (hopefully). Some artists don’t have their work recognized by large groups until after they are dead. Of course everyone wants instant fame and fortune, but if any artist is only going after fame and fortune they aren’t really in it for the art.

Things are changing constantly. What is popular today will be eons old tomorrow. As an artist, you do you. And I’ll do me. Once I get some major work out there, of course I’ll network and promote, but I promise to always do what I want and like to do. I won’t compromise my work for anything because I know that somewhere out in the world there is someone who may find my work and it will mean the world to them. Much like there are authors who have meant the world to me at different stages of my life. They still mean a great deal. For that audience, even if it’s one person, I have to stay true to my work. To stay true to myself. I encourage you to do the same. There are billions of people in the world and many works that have large followings (many of which I don’t know how, but many of which I understand). There are also many works (probably greater in this category) that have a small following that deserve so much more credit.

Everyone has an audience. As such, we are responsible for what we say to that audience, but we are not responsible for how it is interpreted. Everyone is different and there will be people who hate my work. It can’t be helped. Because of that, it is easy to remove any urge to “please people” because no matter what (I’ve learned many times), people will always find something to complain about.

So here we are with so much to take in on the daily. Sometimes it’s good to unplug for a second if not for a year. Sit back and put the phone down and pick up a book. One day it might be one I’ve written. You do you, and I’ll do me. Happy writing. – Ryan

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