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Thursday, November 12, 2009

If You're a Writer, It's Not Really About You

I've been busy reading manuscripts, and I thought I'd share a little something that occurred to me awhile back. If you're a writer, it's not about you.

What do I mean? Simply this - the reader is your customer. If you want to sell your work, you're there to either entertain or to affect. If you're not doing that, you're not doing your job.

Yes, it's a joy to write. Yes, we can only write what is in us and what we see as our truth, but if we don't entertain or move our audience, we've forgotten them.

I think it's so important that we know why we're telling a particular story. If the answer is 'well, I thought it was a cool idea and I wanted to explore it,' or 'I feel strongly about such and so,' that's fine, just so long as you also tell a story that engages or touches. But notice - the 'I' in both of those reasons. Those excuses are focused on the writer and not on whom the writer hopes to reach.

So, why are you telling your story? Will it entertain or affect your readers in a good way? And 'good' is relative, depending on the type of story you're telling. As an editor, I read stories all the time that affect me, but not necessarily in a way that I like.

So strive to entertain or affect. If your story is amusing, funny, or a nice diversion to my everyday life, great. If it touches me, involves me, makes me sympathetic, thrills me, uplifts me, or makes me think, that's fantastic. The world needs stories like that. Let your story be one of those.


  1. There is merit to you logic and I like your intent.
    You have a great weekend.

  2. Thanks! You, too!