No matter whether you’re writing a book, a blog post, a proposal or a short story: even the most powerful message can get lost among the lines if it doesn’t touch your audience. We often forget that we don’t write for ourselves –we write for others. It took me a long time to realise that if I want to connect with my readers I need to let my guard down and allow myself to be vulnerable.
I used to be playing it safe. I avoided controversial topics and made sure my examples never mention any extreme. I focused too much on the facts and not on the people and the feelings that inspired my story. I feared judgement and I thought a single event from my own life or something I have seen or heard while travelling would not be as significant as something that has received social proof or scientific evidence.
Oh, how wrong I was.
I realised that as a writer I don’t need to ask for permission to be honest. I don’t need to think twice to lay out my most intimate thoughts and feelings on the screen. If I want to connect with my readers, I need to be as open with them as I am with a trusted friend in the silent corner of a coffeehouse.
When we read, we don’t just want to absorb information, after all, we don’t read bedtime stories from the encyclopaedia. When we read, we want to feel the story and be able to see it so vividly just like we were present when it happened. We want to relate and find a connection with a stranger and we want to find evidence for the fact that our problems are not so unique and the impossible is achievable.
Don’t evaluate your writing based on the complexity of sentences and perfect grammar. Think about it this way: If my heart rate goes up, my oxytocin level responds to the compassion in your words or my dopamine level increases as I am ready to take action with excitement the minute I finished reading your piece, then it was worth sharing it with me and the rest of the world. There is an infinite, colourful world inside your head that’s trying to take place on a blank page as the cursor is blinking at you with curiosity.
Behind every experience that once made you think, laugh, or struggle, there is a story you can share.
Behind every story, there is an opportunity to share a lesson or an idea with someone.
And behind every lesson and idea, there is a chance you contribute to someone’s life a tiny bit.
Your writing doesn’t have to be a novel in order to transport the audience into the story, even a business proposal or a letter to your friend can do the same. Before you get to the facts or unveil your idea, tell them about the smell of the freshly brewed coffee you had in the morning. The way you felt when your eyes met with a stranger who shared fate with you. The rhythmic sound of waves on the shore where time stopped or the touch of the fine leather sofa that spoke authority of the person you met in his office.
Your doubts, worries, failures, and the moment when you finally got it right. Your thoughts that keep you up at night, the lessons you learnt the hard way and your motives that could move mountains. The beauty you see in the world and the hidden characteristics of a person that fascinates you.
When you finish typing and you’re hesitating about whether you have the right to give expression to your thoughts the way they are is when you know it’s something you have to share with the world. Put down the dots, take a deep breath, and click Publish.
You have a voice. Share your thoughts with me in a comment or follow the Inspioneer blog on Facebook for short reads!