Lately I have been tossing around ideas for my book, short stories, blog posts, and various other uses of the written word. I imagine that those of you who are writers, which is most of you, have been in this situation as well. I invite you to share your experiences and opinions.
To start with, I am not an NVC (Nonviolent Communication) expert. In all actuality, I have only used it minimally in my life. So if anyone knows more about it than me and wants to shine light on this situation with their knowledge, please, feel free. The language of “needs” is one that I am going to use here.
The way I see it, there are multiple purposes for each thing I write.
1. It is some kind of release for me (my emotional needs).
2. It may also have a financial component (my financial needs).
3. It is serving some purpose for others (the needs of others)
4. It is serving the purpose I want it to serve for others (my desire to meet their needs)
All of these things matter as I think about what to write, how to write it, and how to pitch it to the world in a way that meets my needs and theirs.
What if there is a giant gap between your emotional needs (what you want to release) and other people’s needs or desires? This is where I get confused.
Keeping It Simple & Meeting The Needs
Do you make your brilliant idea into a “Seven Great Reasons To Use Lists” blog post or article? Does that feel like turning a garden of your slowly grown wheat into a packet of Easy Mac for some spoiled fifteen-year-old that watches it bubble in the microwave?
Or do you let it become a wordy book hardly anyone will read? Turning your precious wheat into some type of fancy fermented tabouli salad that nobody wants to eat because it is only sold in elitist stores and takes too long to digest?
To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation — Chinese Proverb
One of my supportive proof-reading friends had a response when I first told her that I might publish my book, The Blessings of a Meandering Misfit, as a series of short stories instead of one continuous story. Her immediate reaction was that such a choice was taking the easy way out. (She also happens to be a fabulous singer, you can even listen to her here).
I had to ask myself if that was true. Was it the easy way out, or was it transforming the story into a form that was easier to digest for my readers while still meeting my needs of sharing my experience?
Ultimately, if sharing my experience is what I want to be doing in order to help people find inspiration, see the crazy coincidences, and learn about other ways of life than their own, then my ideal situation is one in which people are reading my book, regardless of how it is presented. As long as the main point comes across and I feel good while writing it.
The Conversation You Have With The World
Whether you are writing, singing, dancing, or working at a retail store or telemarketing office, you are having a conversation with the world. You are inviting a response, even if you never get to hear it. People seek you out, avoid you, or pay excessive amounts of cash for you because of the response you elicit from them with your ability to listen and share.
You have to realize this. I have to realize this. There are several components at work- My feelings, my needs, your feelings, your needs. They all come together and sometimes create a win-win situation for everyone. Other times, there are rejection letters and scowled eyes, confused at the words on the screen.
When is it Too Much for Blogging?
If I have a fabulous idea for a post about what triggers our inner defenses to ignore certain blog posts while soaking in every word of others, and I want to combine that with statistics about book sales, ad sales and nonviolent communication and the psychology of defense mechanisms, how many people are going to stomach it? How many people will even give it a chance, based on my perhaps-poorer-than-ideal skills at presenting such a complex topic skillfully?
If I can write it as “The Top 3 Ways To Snag A Reader With A Simple Title,” well, you can imagine how much easier it will be to attract people.
When Is Too Much Lost?
My question is: How far is too far? At what point is your writing being made too reader-friendly and losing some of the spice that made it what it was to begin with? And how can you measure your needs compared with your hopes for how your writing is received?
Is the writing still making you feel good and satiated if you write it with the reader in mind more than your own emotional process? Do you perhaps feel even better if you write it in an easily-digestible way because you can get more feedback, even if you can’t get the instantly-relieving feeling of just spouting out your feelings, unedited?
These are the things I wonder about, and I would love to know how others work with them.