Preface: For my WR 230W class I needed to make a web page on audiences. I chose to expand on this.
Elbow's work Writing with Power goes over many points. The chapter on audiences is of primary interest. Starting on page 177, Elbow outlines the issue faced by writers when focusing on audiences. His conclusions are mildly paradoxical. He makes a distinction between two types of audiences. The physical audience, and the non-audience, or the internal audience. Elbow also states that both types of audiences come in two varieties; dangerous and safe. Dangerous audiences are hostile and safe audiences are attentive. Elbow goes over many ways to to overcome writing blocks due to audiences. He states that often times ignoring the audience you write to can have the greatest positive effect where as sometimes you have to focus on your audience to clarify your writing. Another problem Elbow stated was that often times your writing is shaped by your audience. In continuing with the paradoxical theme, Elbow also states that sometimes that influence is exactly what a writer needs. He states that the best writers need to be able to step away from the audience or let the audiences force effect the writing at the proper times. The last point this page will cover is the difference between writing to communicate a point, and writing to have someone agree with a point. If you are writing to have the audience agree, then you have to keep the audience in mind, and know what they are looking for out of you. On the other hand if you are writing to communicate information, then you have to write without your audience in mind in order to not let their expectations influence what you have to say. Elbow ends on the point that these are two different strengths of writers, and that as a writer you need to know where your strength lies and work to fill your weaknesses.