Way back when I was a professional writer, when people actually cared a little bit about my work, I was often asked about the audience and how that influenced what I would write. And while I've always believed that a writer needs to create first and foremost for themselves, I admit that after a while, I found myself attempting to tailor a story for a specific audience. This was always done in the later drafts, editing out things that really only held an appeal for me. Looking back, I honestly believe that was a mistake. I allowed myself to get too caught up in the game of writing for somebody's approval, be it a publisher, a critic, or an audience.
Over the past two years, my life has changed dramatically, and my approach to writing has gone back to this notion of I don't care what anybody thinks. That's not to say I won't listen to criticism or advice, because I believe that's crucial. Even if the story is for my pleasure, I want it to be complete. I want it to be free of flaws and weaknesses. I want it to be a perfect version of itself. That is the obsession of an artist, as it should be. The pursuit and desire for awards, sales, and adoration is not the same. That is not what art is about. If it comes, so be it. However, it should never be the goal.