Intent Is What Makes Your Writing Great
Go Personal And Write About Anything, Please Do
I used to think that the stuff I write is interesting to the reader if I pay attention to things like the structure and the flow of the story. I couldn’t be more wrong.
Yesterday I was having coffee with my friend, Susanna, who also writes, and she said something really simple but amazing.
You can always tell a lot about someone’s character, just by reading what they write.
My friend, Susanna
And that’s true. Our writing is a mirror to our soul.
I was reading this story by
Shannon Ashley the other day, about coming up with writing ideas. In the comments, Mason Sabre noted that the more personal stories he reads, the more his mind pops up with ideas for his own personal stories. He wondered if it’s best to stick to one topic, or to write wherever your inner thoughts take you.
When I replied to Mason’s comment, I realized there’s so much more to this than just “go personal and write about anything”. It’s all about intent, because that’s what makes people connect with your writing at the end of the day.
Go personal and write about anything, please do.
First things first. The way I see it, your writing has to be personal, or your story (or your blog post, or your novel) will go unnoticed.
Reason 1: Personal experiences resonate with people
Any topic is far more interesting to your readers, if your writing is informed by your personal experiences. Which means the story will most probably go off on a tangent as you write it, but that’s absolutely fine.
There must be a good reason if it does. Exploring ideas and thoughts that come to you while you write is actually very likely to make the story even more interesting because your readers can tell it’s real. No-one is going to complain, believe me.
Reason 2: It all comes down to personal development at the end of the day.
I’ve been writing both for myself and on behalf of clients for 10–15 years now. If I let myself go and write without overthinking, any story or blog post very easily turns into a self-help article. And guess what, those stories are the ones readers like the most.
What I’m really trying to say is that anyone will want to read something original, as long as it’s spontaneous, honest and authentic. Don’t hold yourself back, go as personal as you want. Authenticity is what helps us better ourselves, whether it’s the author’s intent or not.
Intent cannot be taught, it’s who you are
I’ve decided to be genuinely useful to people to the extend that I can when I write. And that eventually shows, intent always does. Readers can always tell why you’ve written a certain piece.
Other people’s writing advice can help you a lot with practical stuff, but not with intent. The kind of process you can follow when you write, techniques, structure, storytelling, all this can be taught. But intent is yours. Are you willing to be honest and useful to your readers? That’s what counts.
Other people aren’t you, so you don’t need their advice to make your writing work. Nobody else knows what you’ve been through and they haven’t seen what you’ve seen, so nobody can teach you intent. They don’t even have the specific knowledge you have on any given topic.
You’re unique in that sense.
Write great stories
Honesty and transparency rule, so yes, write about anything. Just be you, nothing else will improve your writing more than being yourself. Write about the things you love, and do it with the intention of making your own experiences available for others to learn and benefit from.
Write with your heart. I’m sure I must have said that before somewhere.