How do you approach a new writing project?
Do you find yourself suddenly inspired, and you rush to grab your notebook or dash to your computer to stroke the keys and produce your latest story?
Or do you find yourself sitting with your pen or hands poised, waiting for inspiration?
What if – you approached your writing by thinking about what readers want to read. It makes sense, right? Writing something that readers want to read is half the battle. If you can attract readers, you are getting closer to the marketplace.
So, what do you think writers want from a story?
According to my research: Readers want to be entertained, challenged and inspired.
When I realized this, I started looking at my writing in a different light. Is the latest blurb I wrote entertaining? No – um, how about challenging? Or, can I inspire someone with the words in front of me?
I have an entire electronic filing system full of my writing. I even went back and typed up my early pieces and filed them away. Once in a great while, I will return to something I wrote in my teens and read.
I didn’t write for anyone else in those days. Oh, maybe one or two pieces were written for an assignment in school, so I guess I was writing for an audience of one. My teachers did get the things I wrote from the viewpoint of the reader, rather than myself.
But for the most part, my earliest writings were merely a way for me to release those thoughts from my brain. They read like I metaphorically vomited on the page.
I didn’t truly start writing for readers until I was in my early forties. I began to think about what the readers would feel because I was purposely writing to post online and have my peers critique my work.
And let me tell you, my early work didn’t get excellent reviews. The comments quite often hurt my feelings. But then, some folks said to me that if I learned the ‘rules of the road,’ my stories could be great.
What do I mean when I say, ‘rules of the road?’
I’m talking about structure. And the ever-popular ‘g’ word. Yes, I’m talking about grammar. But I’m talking about technique, too.
Over the next few weeks, my blogs will be about writing techniques and their importance to your work. Sprinkled in, there will be some lessons on grammar because you can’t write without grammar.
Or, if you do, you can’t expect the average reader to be able to understand what you wrote. After all, we’ve been reading things with grammar since we started reading. (Except for government forms—they barely make sense to anyone.)
Do yourself a favor. Take a close and objective look at what you write. Is it for YOU or for your readers? I think you’ll be surprised.
So, please join me as we look at the nuts and bolts of writing over the next several weeks.
Until next time,