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Beyond words: How to write content people actually want to read

Let’s be honest. There’s a lot of content out there that makes our eyes glaze over by the end of paragraph one, go into a fog by two, and forget what we’re reading entirely by paragraph three. Even the word "content" has become as generic as a factory of bagged noodles.


Content is spouted as fast as fries in a burger joint and devoured and disposed of before you have a chance to ask for ketchup.


The truth is, we are more and more unable to connect to the words we read because there isn’t a person on the other side of those words. There’s an idea, or an aspiration, or a due date—but not a person. It's written from the head, not the heart. Written what we're told—what’s expected. Out of the demand for more content. We write to please.


But validation is as short-lived as a Happy Meal.


As writers, the heart and soul of our writing can be taught out of us—in school, in university, at our job. What we end up with is a lot of reporting. Reporting of thoughts, ideas, principles. Reporting, informing, and reporting again and again as we join the content race.


Of course, every book, article, or post doesn’t need to be a blockbuster film (just how riveting can an article about drywall be?) but it should make the reader feel something. At the very least it should make us feel that there’s life behind the words.


So how do we replenish the life back into our writing? How do we clear the fog and express words that will resonate, activate, educate, and inspire readers—to take action, to connect, join the conversation and engage?


It begins with finding your voice.


Anyone can write, but true writers have found their voice—their true expression. And they’ve found their voice by discovering who they are and how to best express themselves. Any university can teach you how to write, but they can’t teach you how to be the fullest expression of you.


And if you don’t know who you are, that’s your first quest. Because if you are not connected with who you are, your readers won’t be able to connect with you or what you write either. The automated you that’s been shaped by the obligations and pressures of your upbringing is not who you are. This means you must get to know the you beyond your identity, or the you behind the who.


So what does that really mean? To know who you are?


Deep down there’s a you beyond all the noise—a unique expression that only you can share. Once you’re rooted not in what you think, but in what you know, that’s when you will find the source behind your soul—the well of life and wisdom that will flow through your words.


The truth is, you think you’re the pen when you are actually the ink itself. Once you go beyond the pen and find your true expression, you will start writing from a place that will not only attract readers—but inspire, activate, and challenge them from within.


Find your well of ink, find your expression—and change your world, one word at a time.


Remember:

  • Write from your heart, not from your head.

  • If you don't feel it when you write it, your readers won't either.

  • Write like you talk, not how you want to sound.

  • Impersonate no one.

  • Let contemplation and introspection be your guide.

  • Use every experience as a learning quest and take notes along the way.

  • Force nothing. No one wants to read an obligation.

  • Write like no one’s watching.

  • Write what you know, not what you think.

  • Be the ink, not the pen.



If you'd like to read more from Jenna Irving, today's guest writer, follow her and connect your readers with big ideas.

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3 commentaires


I used to love writing. As you say, this got taught out of me. I was taught what I want to write about is not what people want to read. What comes from my heart questions silent attitudes and cultural "givens" that write the rules of what is allowed and what is never spoken of. Never highlight the shame, for no one wants to see you wash our collective dirty laundry in public.

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Nadine Heir
Nadine Heir
18 janv. 2023
En réponse à

I'm sorry to hear that! We all deserve to have a passion and enjoy our hobbies. Where do you write now to keep that love of writing alive?

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Nadine Elizabeth
Nadine Elizabeth
16 janv. 2023

Wonderfully written Jenna. And so true that the fun has been "taught out" of us! We need to re-inject some personality into our own writing and that's not always easy.

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