Make It Personal

Photo by Sue Bradford Edwards, 2011.

As you probably know, a lot of my writing consists of blog posts.  I also write essays.  Both of these forms are highly personal — for your reader to connect with what you write, you need to open up.  The piece needs to include a little bit that is you.  Not every-writer.  You.

Some writers can’t do this.  Its just too personal because, like writing fiction, readers don’t identify with a narrator who is just too perfect.  They want someone who is like them.  Flawed.  Forgetful.  Knowable.

This means admitting to vulnerability and your imperfections.  Some writers, like Bill McClellan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, do this particularly well.  McClellan makes a living out of not only sharing his flaws but flaunting them.

If he wrote about the same topics but pointed out the flaws in other people, it wouldn’t be as interesting.  He’d be just another pompous know-it-all chastising the masses.

Photo by Sue Bradford Edwards, 2011.

If you are writing a blog post or an essay that just won’t come together, take a close look at what you’ve written.  When you write about e-mail etiquette, are you admitting to your own mistakes or are you ranting about the mistakes of others.  If the latter, try again.  Write about yourself.  Pull it a bit closer to home and see if the piece doesn’t come together.