Writing Should Be Personal

Writing is a personal thing.

While you can follow a formula to get started – most of us do, consciously or unconsciously – if you are not revealing part of yourself your writing will be less effective.

How do you reveal yourself? Sometimes it is very obvious. You begin a comment with a phrase that clearly identifies the topic as coming from you.

I have long believed that it is important that my readers understand what I am writing about, that they gain a clear understanding of the topic and how they might apply it to their lives and their choices. Both the words used in expressing the message and the way it is structured impact on the clarity of the message.

Other times it is implied by the choice of topic or the perspective presented.

Here in South Carolina the beauty of spring is upon us. The trees, especially the pines, and the grasses are sharing their pollen freely. Cars that are left outside are turning yellow-green. A frequent sound is a loud sneeze followed by a snort as the allergy sufferer attempts to clear his or her nose of the perpetual drip – drip – drip of spring. For this person spring is a mixed blessing – the beauty of new growth and fresh flowers contrasted to the foggy brain that comes from perpetual sneezing.

The paragraph above was obviously written by someone (me) who has mixed feelings about spring. Fortunately, this spring a friend pointed me towards a new-to-me antihistamine that has worked really well for me. The sneezes are gone and I can breathe freely. I can think clearly. I do love getting outside and walking in nature, enjoying the spring flowers, as long as I can breathe.

Take a look at something you have written recently.

  • Can you find yourself in it?
  • Do you share yourself freely so your readers have the opportunity to learn more about you when they read your articles and your books?
  • Or are you a product of teachers or supervisors who so thoroughly emphasized the importance of third-person impartiality that you have managed to remove yourself completely from your writing?

A frequently used phrase these days is “to share your authentic self.” While the word authentic tends to lose impact when used so frequently, the concept is valid. You do want to be honest in how you share yourself. Not only is it safe to do so, the willingness to do so raises all types of possibilities in relating to your community.

How can you be authentic? Share yourself and your experiences. Be honest with yourself and your readers. Let go of the mask that you created years ago to hide behind.

Let your readers know what you think about a topic. Talk about the things that are important to you. Find out what is important to them and let them know your experience related to those topics. Share experiences you and your clients have had that relate to a specific topic.

Keep in mind when sharing about your clients’ achievements that you should either have their express permission to do so or create a composite client (or clients). Then you can present the experience of your clients in a way that maintains their privacy. The underlying feelings and learnings from the experience are more important than having all of the details correspond exactly to what one person did.

As a rehabilitation counselor and therapist in an earlier life I learned that if it wasn’t written down it didn’t happen. And when talking with anyone outside your department of your agency you needed to disguise the specifics as much as possible. After a while it becomes second nature. You can talk about what several people experienced – just present it as if it all happened to one individual. Your audience gets the point and all of your clients are protected.

It all goes back to keeping it personal. Let your readers, your audience, learn about you and your journey through your writing. You will both gain from this. Your people will find you and seek you out the more they know about you.

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Have some questions around sharing yourself? Give me a call at 843-593-0045 or use this link to schedule your complimentary Enchanted Book Session.

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