My friend and business partner, D.J. Allen, likes to go into an introductory meeting with a prospective client and launch a little humorous scud, just to get the lay of the land. If the client laughs, D.J. knows who he’s dealing with. If the client just stares at him, well, that tells him something, too. Either way, he doesn’t obsess over the outcome. Just puts it out there and lets the chips fall. As he likes to say, “I’m an audience of one.”
I know how he feels. When I’m writing, my primary goal is to entertain myself. If something I’ve written brings a smile to my face, that’s a home run. If I go back a few days later and read a chapter and catch myself thinking, “Hey, this guy’s good,” I’ve done my job.
This doesn’t mean I don’t care what the audience thinks. The greatest feeling is when someone drops me a line to say I’ve connected with them on some level. But that’s not the reason I write. Rather, it’s a positive, unintended consequence. I write for personal satisfaction. To communicate something I think is meaningful and to polish my craft. Sure, I’d love to sell a million copies. It would mean there are a million like-minded people out there. (It would also mean I could take a nice long vacation.) But whether I sell one book or a million is somewhat irrelevant, because the act of creating something from nothing is a reward in itself. I know I sound like Pollyanna here, and I know a lot of writers who disagree with me. But, hey, I’m an audience of one.