There is a mental audience inside every writer, every artist, every person that creates. This is something that I believe exists, like a literary Santa Claus. I think it’s a part of human nature to create an audience, and this…is a problem.
Ever pandered to an audience? It’s reflexive. They like something, you give them more. They don’t like it, you stop. Cause and effect. Here’s what my mental audience is like: it fluctuates a lot – sometimes it’s people I know, sometimes members of my family, sometimes it’s co-workers, and sometimes it’s just a mass of faceless strangers, but the quality they have in common, is that they are complete @$$holes. If you’ve read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, I believe she referred to a radio station running through her head called K-F*cked. You see where I’m going with this?
The easiest way to keep writing, to keep going, is to clear the audience out. That’s why I emphasize simplicity. That’s what I got from the Dalai Lama talk.* So you don’t write while considering what other people will think, you choose your one goal (singular), and move towards it. You screen everything else out. I like the quote above: your goal is to create beauty, and no one else matters. The clearer the mind, the easier the goal is to reach.
* The Dalai Lama post on Happiness, where he distilled happiness into really simple ideas: focusing on others, being part of a community. And you’re done. If you meet him, he’s one happy guy.