Being writers is what people are; becoming published is what writers achieve when someone believes they have something to say.
Publication validates you. It says someone thinks:
your writing is understandable;
your writing is interesting,
and therefore your writing is publishable.
Being published means you get to take on
the ridiculously impossible challenge the privilege of writing for strangers who don’t really care about you.
Readers are busy people. They don’t owe you their attention. There are a gazillion books on the market to entertain and educate them, as well as concerts and museums to attend, restaurants to try, video games, movies, television shows, gatherings with family and friends…
Readers don’t need your jokes, convictions, dreams or sob stories because they have plenty of their own. They also have their own heroic survival tales and, guess what? You and your stories don’t inherently matter to them.
Your writing matters to readers only when you satisfy their desires:
1) Readers want writers to entertain them;
2) and readers want writers to educate them.
It’s a straightforward transaction. Give them what they want; they give you money and attention.
To entertain readers,
- Give them emotional experiences.
- Make them laugh; make them cry; make them scream; hate; love; sigh; ooh-and-ah. Make them tremble.
To educate readers,
- Show them what you know. Give them your expertise, your insights, your savvy, your wisdom and your compassion.
- Show them who you are.
To keep them reading, make it clear that you care more about meeting their reading expectations than you care about being a writer.
Above all, respect them as your intellectual, moral equals.
The only way to accomplish this amazing feat of daring is, if, in fact, it is undeniably true that you:
- know what readers expect;
- and deeply respect them and their lives.
So you want the simple formula for how to be an entertaining, instructive, super-duper groovy and beloved writer?
Okay. I’ll tell you.
To write well, we first must live well.
To be entertaining and informative, we must live entertaining, experience-rich lives.
Here’s my best advice for writers who want to be published:
Live your life. Live deeply. Do exciting, interesting stuff. Have adventures, live with your fears and develop your courage. Laugh your booty off, weep until your eyes melt, embrace and shun, love and loathe, through abundance and deprivation, in sickness and in health…
…Live to discover what’s yours to say.
Because only in the conscious, deliberate living of our exquisitely beautiful, insanely terrifying lives, do we discover what’s worth saying, that which is important enough to pass on.
Have you made an effort to live an adventurous, experience-rich life, or have adventures and experiences found you?