I Will Teach You to Be a Writer Who Creates Content People Want to Read
The exact steps you can take yourself
After doing this writing gig for five years straight without missing a single week of publishing, and having had more than 1,000 articles published in publications on Medium alone, part of me wants to share how this is achievable.
Many people wish to write, and often it’s because of the desire to teach others what they know or tell a story or two. This is the heart of being a writer. The artform has nothing to do with wanting to become a New York Times Best Selling Author. Writing has very little to do with accolades because you’ll rarely get them no matter how hard you try to seek them out.
Writing, for me, has been an outlet to teach, and it has also helped me make a living—especially when I lost my job and relied on the fruits of my writing labor to pay rent more than perhaps was healthy.
In this short article, I am going to teach you how to go from desiring to write something to actually doing it and hitting the “publish button of terror” for yourself.
As a side note, these steps are predominately for non-fiction writing. (I’m no fiction writer, so I’ll let the J.K Rowlings cast their magic wand for that field of writing.) Here we go.
State These Up Front:
- Your point of view
- A few facts
- A couple of quotes
- Your experience
At the start of your writing, add each of these points to build an introduction that is worth reading and makes readers want to spend their valuable time reading your work.
If you start on a weak note, your reader probably won’t survive until the end.
Rather Than Talk Down, Talk on the Same Level Using Empathy
Many writers make the mistake of talking down to their readers and making them feel as though they are stupid.
This is often done accidentally, and it doesn’t make for compelling writing.
Using empathy is how you teach and talk to someone on their level. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and explain what they might experience and how they might feel about a subject.
Show the reader the similarities in both your perspective and theirs, which are linked through the common human existence we all live.
Insert Your Personality
There is nothing worse than dry text that is full of copy-pasted facts off Google and has none of the writer’s personality. Each of us has a unique perspective on life and a set of weaknesses.
Where I’m from, Australia, we have many sayings and humorous language. In my writing, I try and use that to inject personality.
An example would be “G’day mate,” which is how we Aussies say hello.
Where you are from, there are unique sayings too. Use them in your writing and make your voice stand out.
Another easy way to add personality is to be conversational. In other words, write how you would talk.
Think Carefully About the Length
Your reader doesn’t have all day. Take into consideration the reader’s busy life and get to the point, man!
Think about public speaking. Do you get the whole day to deliver your speech? Of course not. Your speech is timed because your audience has other places to be and can’t take a vacation from work to hear how in love you are with yourself. The same is true for writing.
You have a finite amount of time to get to the point and deliver something valuable.
Value looks like this:
- Helpful lessons
- A piece that makes people laugh
- A skill you can teach
Leave a small piece of your heart in your writing. Talk about a struggle, a thought that has held you back, a challenging situation, or wish a reader you’ve never met well and be genuine about it.
Showing a little bit of heart in your work makes you the writer appear as a human being in all your glory rather than a robot that types blog copy for Google Search Algorithms to find so that a “user” may land on a piece of content they were searching for.
Share Something Raw
My writing journey started because of a mental illness. It was either battle the illness or find something else to do like writing in the hope that one day I’d be free from it and could live a semi-normal life.
Writing helped me battle mental illness, and I eventually won.
This is something raw, mixed with a touch of vulnerability, and you have plenty of your own examples. Reaching into the showbag of your life to find a moment like this is a key way to make a connection.
There is writing that is full of words, and there is writing that makes an inseparable bond with the reader and connects the two of you from this moment on.
The writing people want to read is in this form. You’ll have to give something up to form the bond, though.
Turn Down Your Ego
The writing people want to read has the ego dialed all the way back. The volume knob is set to soft, and the loudest part is in the form of how you can help, not how good you are at everything.
The biggest mistake I see up and coming writers make is putting in one too many “humble brags” or accidentally coming across as superhuman. This is the voice of the ego, and it can be tamed when it’s acknowledged and dialed back a notch. You are smart, you have achieved a lot, you did make money last month, but that’s not the point for the reader, and it holds little to no value.
The price tag of inflated egos comes at the cost of anybody paying the price to read your work.
- Write in one place.
- Write where people go to read.
- Do your best to disconnect from vanity metrics (They hurt your confidence and stop you from showing up.).
- Expect criticism and be grateful for it.
- Build a habit by writing either weekly or daily for at least 30 minutes.
- Find joy in the process of writing, not from the infrequent reward or acknowledgment you might get.
- Help others in any way you can.
- Take a bit of your success and gift it to someone else.
This is what I have learned after being a writer for five years, and it’s how you can write pieces that people actually want to read.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a high-priced Harvard University Degree to figure it out, and the process is straightforward and logical when you take the time to analyze it.
If you want to be a writer, you can be. Or even if you don’t want the label of being a writer, but would like to publish a few blog posts, you can do that too.
Think carefully about your reader, talk to them on the same level, enjoy the process, and be yourself.
If you do those things, you’ll write content people want to read and help complete strangers in the process (that’s where the fulfillment comes from).