Why is My Audience Important?

Try to remember the last time you were writing an email to your instructor. You might have spent some time thinking about the content of a message. A letter structure, word choice, appropriate tone, details that create informative content – were these the components you took into consideration before composing an email? You definitely knew that it was important for you to persuade a professor while remaining polite and official. Now let’s think about the same information you often share online with your friends. Perhaps there is a noticeable difference in your writing choices.

No matter what you write, it’s necessary to remember that there is always a person who is going to read it, whether it’s an instructor, an official authority, a person who is interested in the same field of study, a supportive family member, or the writer him/herself. Indeed, audience defines the expectations and the results you may want to achieve. Arrange the information you are going to use, create a special mood, stick to a particular genre, adjust the style and language of an essay and your audience will greatly benefit from reading it.

I’ll provide you with some tips you may consider while determining the audience:

1. First, sum up all general information you can find about the reader.

What is the occupation or field of study of your intended audience? Do those people belong to a specific age category? Are they teenagers, adults, or even the elderly?

2. What cultural or geographical peculiarities do the groups of people you chose possess. Are you familiar with their religion, beliefs, and traditions? How can this affect the content of your paper?

3. Now, let’s discuss why these people would be interested in your topic. Does your topic address their needs or simply describe a situation they had or may experience in the future? Is your goal to change their views or appeal to them?

These aspects are vital for creating a well-structured paper. If your audience has little understanding of the topic you present, support the claim with specific details. However, don’t judge the actions of other people and try not to express too strong an opinion on a contradictory topic (unless it’s required by an instructor). It’s necessary to find a balance between your ideas and use accurate language to illustrate them. Ambiguous thoughts and irrelevant details you provide to people, who already know well this topic, can cause the loss of a reader.

4. Finally, think about the parts of your essay where your audience may agree or disagree. What makes you believe so?

By analyzing the questions stated above and imagining what knowledge and experience those people possess, you put yourself in a position to appeal to a specific audience. Often it is best not to consider your instructor as the only person interested in your writing. It may force you to avoid the details that your reader might need to know and therefore can create a weak or unclear piece of writing. Determine your audience, keep them in mind and you will experience better results. Remember that your language should be academic, concise, and sincere. Don’t try to please everyone, but by knowing your audience strive to become a master of words.

Writing Resources – UMUC
The Writing Center – UNC

What Should I Call This?

Don’t you love the feeling of freshly printed paper, the moment your work is done and all the nights spent toiling in front of a laptop screen searching for the perfect words are over? I do, too. But have you ever been looking at your beautiful creation of words and seen a glaring label at the top of the page—Title? Your triumph evaporates as you realize you’ll have to search your already tired brain for the perfect title.

Coming up with a title is often one of the hardest parts of writing a paper, at least for me. However, it is one of the most important parts of the writing process. A title gives your readers their first impression of the text and helps them decide if they want to read what you’ve written. Before you give up and call your well-crafted masterpiece “Argument Essay #2,” try a few of these techniques to see if you can’t come up with something better.

A title can be written whenever inspiration strikes, but it is often saved until the end of the writing process so it can reflect the entire piece. The first step toward answering the question, “What do I call this?” is to identify what type of writing you are doing. Scientific writing usually requires a less cutesy, more matter-of-fact title, something like “The Mating Habits of Jackrabbits in North America.” However, if you were to write a personal narrative about catching a jackrabbit, you would want to use a more creative title, such as “Hop.” If you are feeling adventurous, you can even combine these approaches by using a subtitle, something like “Hop: The Mating Habits of Jackrabbits in North America.”

If you can’t figure out what to do, start by looking at what you’ve already written. Is there an image that stands out, one that is important to the text? Nathaniel Hawthorne used this technique when he titled The Scarlet Letter. It worked, and the book is still a bestseller. You could also title your work after a main character. A lot of authors do this, from Mary Shelley in Frankenstein to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

If you sort of have a title, but it’s kind of weak, try taking out the word “the.” Compare these two possible titles for a story about a group of friends exploring a dark, creepy cave: “The Flashlight” or “Flashlight.” The second title has more of a punch, doesn’t it?

If all else fails, go back through your essay or short story and pull out a phrase you like. I used that technique for this blog post. The phrase “What should I call this?” is in the third paragraph. I have found this technique very useful throughout college, especially when I’m struggling with writer’s block. If you get stuck, remember that you may have already written the perfect title. You just have to find it.

Why Writing in a Journal Will Change Your Life

Remember those old-fashioned, made-of-paper journals? Yes, the ones you will need a pen or pencil to write in. Well, no more computer screen. No more texting. Sharpen your pencil with your old kindergarten sharpener because if you want to keep your mind and body healthy, try writing.

The benefits are amazing. Imagine that when you speak to people in your everyday life you are improving your vocabulary; you’re more creative, more conscious, and best of all, you’re more relaxed.

By keeping a journal, you wake up your brain. Writing about whatever you want, whenever you want keeps you sharp and focused. Write a few pages every day! For myself, I love to write before I go to bed. I have a stream of ideas that I want to record from my busy day. What happened? What made me happy, sad, stressed out? I sit on my bed and word vomit all over my journal.

In fact, my best friend loves to wake up in the morning just to record her dreams. Think about the opportunities of becoming rich and famous by doing this. Does Twilight ring a bell? Stephanie Myer was inspired to create vampire Edward through a dream she had. Surprised? I’m not. Record your strange dreams! It’s awesomely therapeutic. And remember that you don’t have to be an award winning author to write a story. In fact, you don’t have to write it as a story at all. You can write in your journal however you like.

For example, over Christmas break I went on vacation and wrote, “January 15, 2014—— Guess what?! I’m sitting in the most beautiful log cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains! I woke up this morning to the sun pouring in the window, showcasing the misty mountains for miles. I can’t believe I’m actually here. I think I’m going to hop downstairs and make scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese. Yummmm…”

What good does keeping a journal do? Why do I do it? Fun fact about my life… I started journaling in fifth grade. Ever since then, I have recorded the most fascinating and mundane aspects of my budding youth. I talked mainly boys while in middle school, vented about frustrations/ worries/insecurities in high school, and now I write about what I plan and predict for my future. The best part about journaling is that it provides great means for self-exploration and reflection. Reflecting allows me to go back and see what used to be heavy on my shoulders and what I considered important. It’s refreshing to see the issues that I considered “so important” or “so intolerable” were actually only small stones to step over. I made it through all those difficult events in my life which now gives me hope for any kinds of obstacles in the future. In my life, I have problems of playing the pitiful-little-me card when things get rough, but looking back in my journals reminds me that I can make it through anything. This is especially useful for people who have terrible memories, such as myself.

And when you write by hand, your breathing automatically slows and regulates itself. You are literally forcing your body to become still and your thoughts no longer wander aimlessly. You might be amazed at what a few minutes of stillness can do to alleviate stress levels and your overall sense of well-being. Journals are a judge-free zone, so write all you want. You may even find that your best epiphanies happen either while you are writing or seven years later when you are re-reading some old journal entries.