Sunday, March 6, 2011

Writing to the Audience

I realize now why I've spent three days re-recording the same 30 seconds of Mega Man audio commentary, and why my GameCola review of Gemini Rue has been taking so long to pull together, and my one blog post I started two weeks ago keeps getting completely overhauled every time I try to write it: I've been trying too hard to perform for my audience.

My loyal YouTube subscribers and friends have been waiting well over a month for my next installment of Mega Man 6, and the last two videos are, in the opinion of many, the best I've ever done. I'm tough competition.

I spoke with the developer of Gemini Rue over e-mail a few times during the course of playing the review copy GameCola received for free. I'm already way late on releasing a timely review, and I want to do the game justice, and I want to write something that everyone involved in making the game will be happy with, because they deserve that much.

I've been reexamining my ideas for this blog post, and every time I come back to it, there's something else I want to make sure I say or explain so that I make a solid case for the fans who will read it. I want to have my facts straight, and I want to be well-informed before presenting what could almost be a school essay on a particular fandom.

In all these cases, I've been playing to the consumer, and I've been suffering for it. I'm trying so hard to be funny, but that tactic rarely yields funny results. I'm trying to tactfully describe the notable drawbacks and shortcomings of a truly fantastic game that I am recommending without reservation. I want to write something so airtight that everyone will agree with me. I want people to like what I'm giving them.

When have I ever written specifically for my audience? When have I cared whether someone will like something if I myself am satisfied with it? I started making Mega Man videos for the fun of it. I write reviews and blog posts because I enjoy writing, and because I enjoy sharing things with others. If there's one thing I've learned from failed sequels and ill-conceived reboots, it's to never give the audience what you think they want--let their feedback shape what you do, but let your creative mind be the ultimate decision-maker.

I've spent almost six hours of my day doing nothing but writing (and the obligatory breathing and blinking). I have been writing for me, and all of a sudden things are sounding more like I want them to. I'm cracking a smile at my own material, because it makes me happy. Now it's time to let my creative mind wander, and see where I take myself.

It's nice to be back, and I didn't even realize I was away.

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