How to Make Your Writing Really Matter to Your Readers

In all its disparate forms, writing, or at least good writing, has one common denominator: it seeks to make you think, read, or act differently.

Writing seeks to tell a story, prove a point, or bring about a new understanding. Obvious though that may seem, my experience has been that it’s really the largest divide between good writing and bad writing (and I’ve both read and produced my fair share of bad writing).

No matter how elegant your prose, perfect your grammar, or brilliant your metaphors, if I as the reader finish the piece and am not compelled to somehow be different, there’s been no great effect on me.

On the flip side: I’ve read some poorly-written, error-rich pieces that somehow managed to make a compelling point. Mistakes aside, I’d still rather read that than just a well-crafted diversion from the rest of my life. Writing can be a method of entertainment, but truly great writing compels the reader to take note, and take action.

There’s no secret formula to doing this well. Take Faulkner, a famous and prolific author. He’s renowned for the intensity and long-lasting nature of his books, but writes the most flowery, long, winding sentences I’ve ever seen. He even holds the Guinness World Record for longest proper sentence- 1,287 words! On the other hand is someone like Hemingway, who wrote with. Lots of. Short sentences. One of my personal favorite Hemingway stories is a grand total of six words long- “For sale: Baby shoes, Never worn.” Each author, through totally different means, compelled their readers to be different, and that’s why their writing stuck.

Writing like Faulkner or Hemingway is no small task, but it’s easy to make sure we’re writing with a purpose, and writing to affect our audience.

When you first start writing, ask yourself two questions:

  1. What do I want the reader to know?
  2. What do I want them to do?

I’ve learned to write these two things down, bold them, star them, and outline from them, and it totally changes how I write.

The answers to these can be nearly anything- more often than not, the “do” answer will simply be “think about it!” That’s fine, but asking the questions will do wonders to help you write effectual pieces.

Instead of simply starting to write, starting with these two questions narrows the focus of my writing, and forces me to be aware of the reader. In my writing, It helps avoid the long, flowing, tangential writing toward which I seem to be inclined.

If you’re looking to make your writing sticky, memorable, and effectual, center it on what you want the reader to know and do when they finish that they didn’t when they started.

Focusing and refocusing on your readers will help you trim the fat, and make sure your writing always returns to the heart of the matter.

Try asking those two questions before you write next. How does it change the way you think and write?

RECENT POSTS

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

When the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, many of us start to daydream about the possibility of making serious progress on our writing projects. Whether you have some time away from work or study, or simply make use of the extra daylight to extend your...

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

Rising Action in a Story (Or, Why Your WIP Might Suck)

Have you ever told somebody that you started a book but you just couldn't get into it? Have you ever picked up a book and struggled through the first page, the first chapter, even the first half, only to stop reading entirely? You may even have a bookshelf dedicated...

JOIN OVER 2 MILLION READERS

WANT YOUR NEXT BOOK TO BE A BESTSELLER?

Then you need KDP Rocket – the killer advantage of pro authors.

Related Posts

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

When the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, many of us start to daydream about the possibility of making serious progress on our writing projects. Whether you have some time away from work or study, or simply make use of the extra daylight to extend your...

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

Do you want to learn how to find topics to write about? Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, article or chapter,  and nothing, but nothing appears in your mind? This is the dreaded writer's block. The good news is that if you use the following 15 tips, you...

About The Author

David Pierce

Latest Posts

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

What Is the Climax of a Story?

What Is the Climax of a Story?

Have you ever noticed that once you get about three-quarters into a book, you have to finish it?  That’s because you’ve likely run into the climax. And when the climax of a book is good, it becomes impossible to put down. Learning to write a compelling climax...

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

Storytelling is a different kind of writing. Often, voice trumps grammar. Of course, your writing needs to be easily understood by the reader, but it’s crucial that the voice of your writing is strong.  Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, both genres employ...

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

Do you want to learn how to find topics to write about? Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, article or chapter,  and nothing, but nothing appears in your mind? This is the dreaded writer's block. The good news is that if you use the following 15 tips, you...

>