What a World-Class Actor Can Teach You About Writing…

Ken West
The Productive Writer
2 min readMay 31, 2022


And Finding Your Writing Sweet Spot

Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

Consider what you can learn about writing from an unexpected source — a world-class actor.

In a recent review of the new mega-hit movie, Top Gun Maverick, John Nolte writes, “Tom Cruise is a star because he understands stardom in the same way John Wayne and Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly and Bette Davis and Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson understood stardom… It’s not about you! It’s about the audience! Dazzle them. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Inspire them. Broaden their horizons. Show them something new. Teach them. But never, ever talk down to them or act as their superior.”

“Respect the audience as a partner, and you will never break up.”

Amen to that.

That’s not only the secret of good acting, it’s also the key to good writing!

Know the specific goal or outcome you want to achieve from your writing.

Then, get to know your audience!

Find out what they need to learn or experience from you in order to take the action you want them to take.

You might protest that your goal is simply to have them think differently about your topic.

But ultimately, you want to guide them to the conclusion and resultant actions you want them to take.

It could be to vote for the best candidate. Or buy your product or service. Or preserve, protect and defend freedom!

Only when you know and respect your audience, and appeal to their desires, self-interest, and reason, can you move them to action.

How to find your writing sweet spot

First, ask yourself, “Why do I write, or want to write?

If it’s to show how smart or knowledgeable you are, it’s not a workable or worthwhile reason because it doesn’t serve you or your potential readers.


  • Get clear on why you are writing and what you want to accomplish.
  • Find and get to know your potential readers, especially an audience you respect.
  • Discover what they want, need, and believe.
  • Tailor your writing to your audience and what they need to know or believe to take the action your want them to take. And yes, it could be to simply encourage them think differently about the topic. But ultimately, thoughts and beliefs lead to action.
  • Meanwhile, stay true to your audience and the ultimate goal of your writing.

Finding your writing sweet spot is a process. It takes time and effort.

The time to begin is now.

Take the first step.

Then the next.

Keep going.


If you have a specific, writing-related topic you would like this newsletter to cover in future issues, let me know. Also, if you know someone who could benefit from this newsletter, go-ahead, share it with them. Thanks!



Ken West
The Productive Writer

Write, Publish, Monetize.