Write for yourself. And then write for one.
I see it all the time. People write for fame. They perform for social media. They engineer blog posts to get more followers. They beg for shares. They create products that may or may not be helpful to their readers. They’re desperate to be heard. But do they really love what they’re doing? And are they actually helping anyone?
As a reader, the writing that I find life-giving and inspiring is authentic. It’s like they’re writing just for themselves. It’s a message that comes from the writer’s heart. It’s something they’re deeply in touch with. It’s something that they’ve reflected on and they’ve really thought through. It’s what they’d write about, even if no one else ever saw it.
But their writing isn’t just authentic—because you can be really passionate and totally unrelatable. Good writing is also empathic. It’s like they’re writing just for me.
Think about a time when you met a celebrity or someone well known whom you admired. And even if it was just for a moment, you got that person’s full attention. They addressed you specifically. They listened and they responded appropriately. It was special because it was just for you. And you will always remember how that person made you feel in that moment.
Good writing should be like that. Your readers should read what you wrote and say, “YES. That’s exactly how I feel. You get me. You’re writing just for me.”
As writers, we often think of our audience as a mass of people who have certain qualities in common. We stereotype them. And that generalization guides a lot of what we write and create.
Imagine this instead. Your best friend comes over. You sit at the kitchen table together with a glass of wine, and she asks your advice. You tell her everything she wants to know, pouring out all of your expertise. You answer all of her questions. You don’t hold back. You freely share everything you can to help her achieve her dreams—simply because you love her.
That’s what readers want. They want the intimacy. They want information and advice that’s specifically relevant to where they are right now, given in a spirit of love, for their benefit.
If you’re a blogger or a writer, I think you have to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Is it to be a superstar? Or would you be content if only ONE person read your blog post or read your book, and said, “Yes. That’s exactly what I needed. Thank you.”
Here are my challenges for you:
Write for yourself. I’m an avid journaler, and it’s the place where I’m my most authentic self. No performances, no judging. Just me, completely unfiltered. Do yourself a favor and give yourself permission to write just for the sake of writing. Write about whatever you want. Get in touch with what you love.
And then, when you’re ready to publish, write for just one person. Imagine you’re hanging out with a dear friend, who’s asked for your expertise. Don’t hold back. Give them everything they need, in a spirit of love.