By: Marilyn L. Davis
Are You Having Conversations with Your Readers?
“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” ― Mark Twain
I received an email that touched me. The reader said, “Reading your articles is like a great conversation. They are informative, laced with humor, insight and valuable information. I get myself a big cup of coffee to satisfy the illusion of conversations with you, Marilyn.”
Delicia Powers, a poet at Wikinut, wrote me: “I admire so much Marilyn your style of writing…we are allowed to follow your stream of thoughts effortlessly. They become our own and we are comfortable, at home with the feelings that flow so honestly through your mind…you put it so beautifully in one of your earlier pages… “your thoughts all are connected threads unraveling”, not the exact quote of your words but what remains in my mind… a marvelous story of self-discovery…thank you Marilyn, I am looking forward to reading more.”
I almost did not write that day wanting to savor those kind words.
Wish I Had Said That
While I would like to take credit for Alice Bag’s quote, I cannot. However, it reflects how my writing is transforming. “…I became obsessed with following the threads of my memories, one leading to another. I start pulling on a single, seemingly trivial strand, only to discover it is attached to a longer strand; that one in turn is attached to an even bigger one. Sometimes, I find I have tugged a whole, hidden tapestry of my past into view, one thread at a time.”
Delicia has an excellent point in that my connected threads are unraveling. Learning about writing as I am, I am discovering a completely new style for me, a personal essay. The “I’m narrating the experience and including my thoughts and feelings, the nit-picky examination of what was, what came to be, and what I’m doing with it.”
Style is Not the Only Difference
When I first started writing, I thought that I must write long drawn-out articles to stand out. Stand out is not exactly the right term, maybe just to be in the running is more accurate.
After all, why should anyone read my article over all the others published that day?
In my more honest moments, I realize that writing about addiction is not like warm, fuzzy, ethereal poems or feel good narratives. These articles are about the harm done to others and ourselves.
Addiction is the raw hunger that drives us to self-destruct, the complete and total disdain for not just, the abstract fellow man, but our children, our parents, and us. In our use, we do not care about other people. Defining addiction beyond the simple fact of using drugs and alcohol, how it affects people, and how to recover are parts of my mission.
Lengthy is Not Necessarily Better
For a long time, I thought that the examples, underlying causes of addiction, and recovery directions needed to be serious, educational, exacting, and L-E-N-G-T-H-Y.
I was wrong. Some of my early efforts were tedious, pedantic, and nit-picky, and I no longer want to spend my time writing lectures. Instead, I give my readers the human stories that illustrate the subject of the lecture, getting to the essential aspects in fewer, more specific words.
On my addiction blog, FromAddict2Advocate, I now try to leave out the unnecessary words and find the heart. I would rather give my readers the human stories that illustrate the subject of the lecture, getting to the essential aspects in fewer, more specific words.
I can educate about addiction and recovery with the A-B-C’s; however, I believe that giving the examples of Ann, Brad, or Carl helps readers relate and connect to addiction and recovery issues much better than Dragnet’s Joe Friday perspective, “Just the facts.”
Writing non-fiction cannot just be the facts and statistics. These must be woven into the article, creating an atmosphere where the reader relates to facts and becomes emotionally engaged in them. Click To Tweet
Writing non-fiction cannot just be the facts and statistics. Are facts important in non-fiction? Certainly they are; however, they must be woven into the article creating an atmosphere where the reader relates to facts and becomes emotionally engaged in them.
In Revelatory writing, there is a point in which the writer starts out with the message of conflict, tensions, hardships and adversities and then discovers a solution.
It is the written moments of personal insight, awareness, feelings, and thoughts that make non-fiction human. And in writing well, we attract readers who are interested enough in a post to grab a cup of coffee and read awhile.
Creative Non-fiction and Coffee – Can’t Beat It
In truly authentic conversations, I would talk a bit and then listen to you. I would like to keep that going, writer to writer. If you will, indulge me.
If you leave a comment, which I always appreciate, tell me something about yourself and your writing. I will grab my coffee and be prepared to learn. Thank you.
Now, It Is Your Turn to Chat: Tell Me about You
- What have you discovered about yourself through your writing?
- How much time do you study the craft of writing?
- What motivates you to write?
- When was the last time you tried a different style of writing?
- What inspires you to write?
- What writing goals have you established for you?
- Which authors have inspired you?
- Is there a book on writing that you swear by for information?
Oh, one more thing, I am curious if there are books, sites or articles that you recommend to help me become a better writer. I could always opt for a second cup of coffee and learn more.