Who Are You Writing For?

INTERVIEWER:
Do you have a reader in your mind when you write?

BALDWIN:
No, you can’t have that.

INTERVIEWER:
So it’s quite unlike preaching?

BALDWIN:
Entirely. The two roles are completely unattached. When you are standing in the pulpit, you must sound as though you know what you’re talking about. When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.

[ James Baldwin, in “The Art of Fiction No. 78”, Paris Review, Issue 91, Spring 1984 ]

Source: Daana Townsend – @retrosoul