Most likely your reader will be like you. She will like the same things as you, read similar types of books, maybe even have similar values in life. That’s why writers get the advice ‘write what you know’. This isn’t to be taken literally. The Bronte sisters wrote about love and romance but had very little experience in these matters. It isn’t about actual experience, but what you know instinctively. Writing to your values, your thoughts, your understanding of the world.
Many writers fall down here because they write what they think their reader wants to read. Or what they think might be commercial or controversial.
DON’T. PLEASE DON’T.
So, how well do you know yourself? We can learn this through our own writing to an extent because writing is how we make sense of the world. The writing will get better as we get to know ourselves better. Does that sound like loony tunes?
Let me put it this way. If you go back and read your work from when you first started out, is it good? We start out wobbly, tentative. We put our thoughts out there like an apology, holding our hand out expecting it to be slapped away. Or we may feel like it’s good because we have no comparison. Most likely when you read it, you’ll cringe.
The more life experience we have, the more we can articulate what we want to say. If we’ve been places physically, experienced different situations, then we can offer more in our stories but it isn’t essential. You don’t need to have travelled outside your birth city to be able to write well.
Essentially, you are your reader. Write authentically and you will engage with your ideal reader. Write for someone other than yourself and you won’t hit the mark. You also won’t enjoy what you’re doing. Life is too short for that.