Know your audience
One of the most important takeaways from Mauro's interview is that knowing your audience is crucial in creating effective content. Whether you're writing commercial content, or a work of fiction, understanding your target audience helps you tailor your message appropriately. For commercial writers, figuring out what consumers want and how they make purchasing decisions is paramount to drafting effective copy. Meanwhile, in genres like science fiction or fantasy, understanding what elements of the genre appeal to readers can help you create more engaging stories.
Alternate your approach
Another significant consideration is that different mediums require different approaches to writing. Novels and longer narratives, like video games, require more evaluation, and they benefit from someone else's perspective, while short fiction requires immediate writing and moving on. This dichotomy is especially evident in Mauro's discussion of "The Last of Us." As she notes, this video game follows messy and human protagonists whose emotions and reactions feel more realistic than that of typical "strong" heroes. Video game writing also requires a clear objective and guidance for the player and the ability to balance storytelling with functional language.
Even within the medium of video games, different audiences may have different preferences. This is a common pitfall for writers who assume that their preferred style will appeal universally – and one that can be difficult to navigate. For example, Mauro explains how "Disco Elysium" is a text-heavy game that is not immediately appealing to everyone. But creators of the game were deliberate in layering a basic narrative for everyone with extra details for players who wish to dig deeper. This offers something for two different audiences rather than trying to appeal to an amorphous "everyone."
Collaboration is another essential consideration for writers. Mauro stresses the importance of being open to feedback from other team members, even if it means letting go of your "darling" ideas. This can be particularly challenging in personal creative projects, where revisions can feel like losses. But listening to the perspectives of others can lead to growth and new insights. Collaboration can also be beneficial in academia or journalism, where other perspectives can help refine arguments and ensure clear communication.
Be true to yourself
Finally, Mauro points out the necessity of being true to yourself and your genre. While switching to a different genre or style to appeal to a different audience is tempting, this could also mean losing sight of why you started writing in the first place. Understanding your voice and intent is essential to writing with sincerity, whether fiction or nonfiction.
In sum, writing is a complex and multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of various factors. From the audience to the medium, different elements will require different approaches. Collaboration, openness to feedback, and self-reflection are all essential for personal growth as a writer. But perhaps most importantly, writing must be executed with honesty, sincerity, and a true understanding of your own voice. With these considerations in mind, aspiring writers can hone their craft and create powerful, resonant content that speaks to their intended audience.