Writers: who do we create content for, really?
This question was gleaned from a recent conversation with a friend. Our discussion about reading content by non-Western writers of colour made me question who my writing is really for.
I like to think that I represent a minority of voices that strive to provide a different take on freelancing. I specifically strive to share my journey with gig work and how the way I curate my lifestyle influences how I work. I always try to appeal to people like you, who (I think) want to take a holistic approach in cultivating contentment from their work. Even if it’s through owning and using your own experiences, values, or your views on life and how you want to live it.
This (the above) is what I set out to share when I write for you. I always remind myself that my writing has to straddle relatability and helpfulness. But, in conversation with a friend regarding how intentional we rarely are about diversifying our perspectives through consuming content from non-Western creators of colour, I realized that a lot of the writing I share is really for me. I share it assuming that you’ll have the same interests. That you see the world as I do. Or, at least, that you may find my experiences helpful in informing the choices you make in your freelancing.
This realization made me pause and reflect on why I make this assumption, to begin with. I want so badly to believe I know you, what you want to hear and that I can contribute to your perspective meaningfully by sharing mine. I like to believe (most of the time) that it’s being a young black woman from a township in South Africa living in an unorthodox way that makes my perspective worth sharing. That being from a disadvantaged background and daring to choose freelancing as a career option makes my experience unique.
I have never considered how, though, other privileges that other young black women from townships in South Africa may never have. Privileges such as getting world-class education (albeit on scholarship) for most of my life. Or being brought up in an unorthodox family of freedom fighters who spent their lives outside of South Africa and abroad in exile learning about different cultures, ways of creating livelihoods and adopting different values. Raised by military veterans that seemed to go out of their way to parent in every way outside the norm, I was bound to have a bit of a strange world-view (reflected in my interests, the content I consume, the way I work, how I relate to others, etc.)
Upon reflection though, I begin to wonder if I do resonate with you. If my writing does what I intend it to do. Whether my perspective does help you consider different choices (if it’s not too soon to tell). I have never considered how my writing is imbued with the small privileges I have had and how your experiences may have not afforded you the same.
At first, I considered sharing my writing solely from the perspective of a young black South African freelancer, who is also a woman. But it felt fallacious claiming that that part of my identity is what drives me to share my perspective. I post here, for you, because it is all my other privileges that have shaped the experiences I am driven to share. But I cannot deny that they are privileges nonetheless; ones that afford me the capacity to choose freelancing as a way of making a living.
I do hope that you can join me in conversation, or rhetorical reflection, about who (if you are a content creator) you write for, or think about how intentional you are about the content you consume.
Take a moment to consider:
With what intention do you create or consume content? Do you always write with your audience in mind?
I want to clarify that I am not referring to content I write in my professional capacity for clients, rather the posts I make here and on other platforms in my personal capacity.