Audience As Enemy

Fear of the audience. How would Olivier and Harrison have felt if they had no audience, if it were just a rehearsal? They wouldn't be panicky if there were no audience. Do you have an audience when you write? Readers are your audience, but do you have an audience while you're actually performing the act of writing? Yes, you do. The audience is yourself, and that's the toughest audience in the world. No one can terrorize you like you can terrorize yourself. Actors often perform without an audience, but can you write without an audience? Can there be no you there?

Have you ever heard someone say, "He was lost in his work," or, "She was so absorbed she didn't know what was going on around her." That's what we're talking about when we say writing with no audience. The difficult, frightening audience is gone. You're aware of what's happening, but you feel as if you are the process, you are the story. Now, that's the ideal state, what keeps us going, what we hope for, but certainly not the state you must be in before you can begin writing and definitely not what you wait around for in order to start. Waiting would only compound the problem.

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