Sunday, December 17

The Difference Between What You Want to Say And What Your Readers Want to Hear

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I’ve received a lot of flack as a writer.  One of the reasons why I am not making more money than I am, aside from the anxiety of having to deal with deadlines and find creative ways to deliver what a publisher needs is that I enjoy saying what I want to say more than what my readers want to hear.  I might give you five or ten articles about the same topic, and then switch gears and go in a different direction.

The way that my mind works, is that I am not preoccupied with the same topics all of the time.  I might be on politics for a minute, then move to religion and try to teach, then move to finance, then talk about fashion, then entertainment, then go back to politics all over again.  Every now and again I might talk about myself, but that doesn’t work very well.  One of the reasons is that I am not that interested in myself and my own emotions.  I’ll give it some lip service as a pastime or a novelty, but I do not really want to talk about myself.  I was taught that it is rude, impolite, in poor form, uncouth, narcissistic, self-serving, self-aggrandizing; did I leave anything out?

Writing works the same way that any other profession does in that you have to give people what they want.  They know that it is the same thing that the next guy is offering, but they are looking for your own voice and the way that you deliver the goods; that is what they fall in love with, and the relationship that they are seeking.  Differentiation is part of the package, the way that we market ourselves is another.  My only tools are Twitter and word of mouth, because on occasion someone will re-tweet my work.  My blog is also a tool, because a lot of people like to read, but they do not have any desire to get into social networking, so I have to keep them in mind too.

I have to realize that there is a lot that interests me that my readers simply do not care about.  I also have to keep in mind that there are plenty of things that interest me that I am not that good at talking about.  It is important to keep relationships with other writers and other content producers, because they may have an angle that you don’t, and they may be more passionate about items that you have a passing interest about.  You can write about what they’ve written, and introduce them to your readers.  I saw a clip on the New York Times website about Giambattista Valli, an Italian fashion designer who sells other designers clothing in his own store.  That is the attitude that we should embrace as writers.

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