Every writer knows the feeling...it's the "so what?" question that hovers around every piece of writing. Why the heck would anyone want to read what you're writing? It's a question that is posed in this blog entry at Writing Every Day Works:
“No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Robert FrostDonald Murray about Writing and Teaching For Surprise in his book, expecting the unexpected Teaching Myself - and Others - to Read and Write. Don writes that his students become writers when they first write what they do not expect to write.My niece Abby and I often confer about writing. She writes. She loves school. She willing shares her writing with Aunt Debbie. I appreciate her willing spirit. I often ask her, “Who cares? Why did you write this?”
One of the joys of blogging is the complete freedom to write about *I* choose, to venture off the beaten path and explore what I want. Often, when writing, I find that I've imposed limits on the topic, what's socially acceptable to write about, what won't be misinterpreted at work...soon enough, I find that what I've written is constrained, lacks the passion that gets ME excited, much less anyone else. Now, when i write, I hope to push for the edge. It is a precipice that only I can see, an illusion of a tremendous fall.
When I began writing 7000+ blog entries ago, I found myself agonizing about who would read my work. Could I really write this and live? Would I be fired? Would others see what I'd written and say, "Miguel, we've found you out...you really don't know everything you seem to know in those carefully crafted articles about leadership and technical derring-do." The truth is, does anyone?
As I was writing that last paragraph, I was reminded by something Robert Quinn had written...apparently, in a book I don't have handy. But as I searched for the relevant quote, I stumbled upon this one...so appropriate for a writer:
"Every couple of years, you need to bet your job, or else you are not doing your job."As I consider that piece of advice, I'm convinced that a writer needs to take risks and try to write things he wouldn't have tried before. It might read instead, Every few pieces of writing, you need to write at the edge of the precipice, or else you aren't growing as a writer. Not sure if that works, but that's OK....
The So What Factor plays into everything. Sitting at lunch today with a business colleague, I was surprised to find myself sharing a few stories...and before I knew it, I was challenging my own storytelling, asking, "So what? Why would this person care?" Sometimes, stories need to be told even when the only person who cares is you.
Hmm...not sure I was going to end up with that conclusion, but glad I did. Let me say it again.
Sometimes, stories need to be told even when the only person who cares is you.
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure