As a writer, your mind is filled with questions. The biggest one being – am I good enough? You wonder whether the reader enjoys your posts (liking is one thing, enjoying is another). You put your heart into it, hoping that people will love it. You dream of readers commenting and sharing, their friends reading and thanking them for posting it, of your post going viral. In reality, though, your friends and fellow bloggers – people you already know – are the only people who interact. Over time, you feel like people don’t ‘get it’, that they cannot understand what you are trying to share. That time is when, instead of giving up, you should ask yourself “Why? Why can’t I get my view across?”
These doubts flood my mind too. So I reached out to Karthik Rajan for feedback. I’ve been reading his posts for over a year now. His perspectives beautifully merge two contrary aspects – analytics and creativity. They are fresh. He says that he lets his heart lead the way while writing, and it shows. I can’t recollect how we connected on LinkedIn, but am glad we did.
How To Write Better Than You Did Yesterday?
The chat with Karthik lasted for over an hour but felt like a few minutes. Like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which states that when you sit with a pretty girl, an hour feels like a few minutes. Okay, Karthik is not a pretty girl, but you get the drift.
During the discussion, he shared some brilliant insights. And, like I have done before, I will share them with you. This post does not focus on specifics. Instead, it emphasizes on philosophies – on how you can tap into your inner self to evolve as a writer.
1. Ask Yourself An Important Question
Almost always, the topic you choose has already been written about… probably even been beaten to death. With almost 4 million blog posts being published online every day, it’s a Herculean task to discover ‘virgin’ topics. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot offer a fresh perspective. So once you zero down on a topic, ask yourself: “What unique perspective can I present to my reader?” Build your post around it.
2. Address Emotions
Your reader is a real person. She has fears, desires and questions. You want her to connect to your post, right? Otherwise, she will click away faster than your boss changes his mind. When you write, address your reader’s emotions – her concerns and challenges. Share thoughts to help her emerge victoriously. Take her on an emotional roller coaster. Paint a picture.
“B-B-B-B-BUT… I WRITE FOR MYSELF.”
Good for you. Then you might as well maintain a personal diary. People won’t care about your personal life unless you are Elon Musk or Richard Branson. Even they are read because people learn something, or feel inspired. Nobody… nobody reads anything if it doesn’t have something for them.
Every good writer is a voracious reader. Unique perspectives rise from constant reading. Successful writers and entrepreneurs keep sharing pearls of wisdom. So read. Read blogs which are a million times better than yours. Do not neglect books either. Good books can change your perspective, and make you see the world through a different lens.
4. Write Despite Questions
Writer’s block, putting yourself out there, writing for yourself versus writing for the world – many writers are plagued with these questions. News flash: they restrict you. Honestly, why would you think about how much to put out there if you want to share something worthwhile? And how can you possibly suffer from writer’s block if you read, if you know where to look for topics? “Writer’s block is a myth, a recent invention, a cultural malady”, Seth Godin wrote in his 6000th post. It’s okay to have questions, but ‘the act is more important that the output.’ So show up, sit down, and write.
5. Enjoy It
We write under pressure. Yes, pressure exists when a deadline looms. But questions like ‘will anyone like it?” cause self-imposed pressure. Enjoy writing. Let it flow from your heart. After all, it is a medium for you to share what you know. When you enjoy cooking, your family can taste it. When you enjoy making music, your audience can hear it. Likewise, when you enjoy writing, your reader can read it.
“If you cannot explain something simply, you don’t understand it yourself,” Einstein said. Today, however, we prefer the opposite. Complexity shows that we know a subject. Not true. So resist the temptation of imitating others and writing on a topic that you don’t completely understand. Don’t add many ingredients to your blog post recipe. It will confuse your reader so much that she doesn’t know what she is tasting. Pick on a single theme, ask yourself “How can I state this simply?” Then get to work.
7. Write Like You Speak
We connect with others brilliantly when we speak. Writing which is conversational achieves the same goal. The writer talks to you, face-to-face, rather than from a pedestal. And it is tough. But it is possible, and essential for effective writing. Here is a solution: Speak to yourself or to someone, and record it. Then write it the way you spoke. That becomes heartfelt, genuine and simple. When you sound the same while writing and speaking, your online and offline personas blend into one.
Make your reader a friend, not a fan. Every journey for people successful in any field started with friends. Writing is no different. To make a friend, be genuine. Win your reader’s trust. To win her trust, share something valuable and helpful. To do that, delve deep into yourself. Be honest with yourself. Be so crystal-clear that you can see through yourself. Don’t concern yourself as much with “How” you will do it, but more with “Why”.
What can you change in your philosophy today? How will you use these seven questions to evolve as a writer?