Move past self-protective fear to write with honesty, transparency and vulnerability.
What makes you love great writing?
Have you thought about what your favorite authors have in common? I have. And I discovered that I love books that resonate with me. I know I’ve stumbled onto something wonderful when a book allows me to glimpse inside the writer’s soul.
As a writer, I want to impact my readers that way. I hope that is your goal too. So what can we do to become more transparent in our writing? I’ve come up with a few ideas. Maybe you can add to them.
Forgive past offenses.
When we’ve been hurt, it is easy to construct protective walls around our hearts. Those walls may keep us from getting hurt (probably not, but that’s why we build them), but they create a distance between us and our readers.
Unforgiveness comes across in writing as legalism or know-it-all-ism. It preaches at the readers, talking down to them instead of inviting them into conversation or story.
Focus on Your Readers
If you are writing to someone, you will be more authentic. You’ll move beyond, “Here I am. Let me tell you what I know!” to “There you are. How can I add value to you today?”
Picture your target reader. Imagine her reading your words and reacting to them. What does she feel as she reads them. Has she learned to trust you to teach her or take her on a soul-stirring journey? Are you giving her what she needs in this moment, in a way she can receive ? Do your words resonate with her?
Trust the Lord with Your Reputation
One of the quickest ways to alienate a reader is to try to impress him. Readers don’t care how much you know. They don’t care how witty you are or how you’ve perfected your prose. They want to learn from you or be entertained by you. They want to connect with you on an emotional journey. If you are preening on the paper, you may be admired from afar, but you’ll never touch the heart of your reader.
If you ask yourself, “Will this make me look good?” you’re going to distance your readers. Let God take care of your reputation and how you look. Instead, ask yourself, “How will my readers benefit from this? What will they learn? What will they experience?”
What keeps you from writing with vulnerability? What steps will you take to overcome those things and connect on a deeper level with your reader?
Elizabeth M. Thompson leads Inspire Christian Writers. When she’s not writing devotionals or planning the next Write to Inspire conference, she’s learning to write more transparently with her Inspire Elk Grove group. She enjoys connecting with other writers via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
She has an active home which she shares with her fabulous husband Mike, three children, two dogs and a few errant dust bunnies.