sometimes–this is a good thing
There is a fine line in writing between being vulnerable, open, honest and being over-exposed. We walk this line, a tightrope of credibility with a chasm of wide-mouthed readership, an ocean of clappers below us, waiting to give us feedback.
What if that feedback is in thought? The thought that our writing is merely self-serving? We cannot take advantage of the generosity of our readers by making it “all out us.”
We have to remember that our readers want us to be honest.
They want to know who we are.
But they want to read things that will touch their hearts or change their minds. They want to learn something valuable to add to their day, to their life.
They want to be moved.
So how do we walk this line of vulnerability without appearing to be so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget the needs and wants of our readers?
There are continuing education classes to take in writing, art, music. I think by finding our talent and expressing it, we learn more about what it is to human. Such expression can be deeply illuminating and satisfying. — Jean P. Moore, author of Tilda’s Promise
Honing our Craft
To honor our reader in our writing we must improve our craft, by whatever means possible. Being the best we can be is the most crucial element of writing — one that will take you, and your reader along with you, to the next level of relationship.
And that is what writing is — a relationship between your thoughts and your reader’s life.
Educational opportunity —
Shaunta Grimes, and Zach J. Payne are offering summer courses to support writers on their journey, teach tried-and-true methods of success, and to grow writers in their craft. Head over to their Ninja Writer’s Academy to learn more about this. Spaces are limited and there is a cost. Shannon Ashley has also been teaming up with Shaunta to offer videos as well — sign up for Shaunta’s email to get the information. You don’t want to miss out on the free workshops!
Here is an article about honing your craft that offers 16 ways to become a better writer. Immerse yourself in readings like this, take a writer’s workshop, step up your editing game. The tightrope gets more balanced and you will be able to open up new levels of emotional connectedness with your reader within the context of credibility.
Taking your reading to next level is crucial. Readers know good writing when they see it. If you open up about your life, express a personal opinion, and reveal deep layers of your inner creative spirit — but do so with poor writing, you can rest assured that your reader will take their minds, their loyalty, and their claps elsewhere. As they should.
Now, for the big reveal. Your heart.
Just how open should you be? Where do you draw the line? I have recently touched on this subject and the highlights show that my perspective on this matter is shared.
The perspective resonated with readers:
There are no rules in writing. And there are no closets to hide in when it comes to “over-sharing.”
Where do you draw the line? For me, I draw the line at exposing my family members’ and friends’ stories in a way that is disrespectful of their privacy.
But for myself — all bets are off.
I haven’t always felt this way but as I strive more and more to live in my truth, it becomes harder to not disclose the difficult, the embarrassing, the truly raw and personal. — Christina Ward, from “Writer Tell-All”
Set your limits. Know what they are and stay true to that purpose. Your self-honoring tactics will not come across to your reader as selfishness, but a strength of character to be admired. Readers ultimately want to read writing by writers that they look up to, respect, admire, and they will demonstrate loyalty to that relationship. Honor their efforts by having discipline in your writing.
A writer needs three things: experience, observation and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. — William Faulkner
Now that you have focused on creating the quality of work that garners respect and readership, set the standard for yourself for the dusty closet corners you are or are not willing to sweep into your writing — it is time to open up with honesty, to allow your voice to shine throughout your work.
Tell that difficult story — the one that brings you to tears. Share them with your reader one tear at a time until your readers cry with you. This is a beautiful place to share the relationship, celebrate the connection that your openness creates. The chasm closing — some of your readers will join you on the tightrope and share those moments with you.
They will empathize, but they will also remember you. And they will want to know the next parts of the story — your story, because they are now not just emotionally invested in an experience they read about, but they are emotionally invested in YOU.
Credibility. Relationship. Loyalty.
Share your intimate thoughts. Your intimate moments. Your deepest ambitions and dreams. Your reader knows these! They have their own! If you touch that place of human nature within other people, your writing builds bridges across the ocean of claps, of readership, of the “bouncer” who doesn’t stick around long enough for you to connect — get them to stay, to read, to join your journey.
As shallow as this seems, it is the claps, the return readers, your tribe that you write for. Increasing that tribe increases your reachability.
Make their journey worthwhile.
Allowing your reader to get to know your heart will lead to a more lucrative experience for you on your writing journey. Reaching your words out to grab the hearts of others — this is truly priceless. After all, we want to make a difference.
You can’t do that by being closed-up, stale, distant. We all want to be memorable.
Readers want to be moved. I’ll say that again because it bears repeating. Think on that with every article that you write. With every poem you construct. With every letter you type. They want to be moved.
So move them.