How Do You Write for Everyone?
How easy it is to get overwhelmed when I think of how individual each reader is. How can I possibly meet what they expect, when each of them comes with a different goal, a different history, and a different mind set?
Whatever the subject I choose to write on, I can be sure that some readers will know it far better than I do and some will have never encountered it before. How do I bridge gap to write a piece that meets learners on solid ground while engaging readers with significant expertise? These writing questions are central for anyone who writes for an audience of more than two people they already know.
How do I answer these questions for myself and for others?
I give them the answer Big Roy discovered.
That Curious, Complex, Intelligent Individual
Blogging is conversation — an exchange of ideas. Conversation often happens between people who have different backgrounds, unique experiences, and unequal expertise. What makes conversation work well is the respect the speaker-writer shows in relating to an audience.
When I started to realize that it really didnÃ¢â¬â¢t matter how many people read my blog. I really needed to write it as if one person was reading it. That one person being the most important reader in the world because he was reading my blog.
So how does a writer do that? Here are a few ways.
- Provide information that is complete without assuming things on the part of the audience. Learners and experts both like to start a conversation from a solid place.
- Use a voice that shows you understand that intelligent people might have incomplete knowledge for legitimate and natural reasons. Don’t let your internal editor say that readers will think Hey I already know this. Don’t call me stupid. Not every person would have occasion to come into contact with the information you’re sharing. There is no reason why they should have. Not providing information is more likely to make them uncomfortable.
- Make a prototype sketch of your one most important reader. Choose someone much like yourself who is curious, clever, and intelligent, but keep the difference that this person doesn’t know the subject you write about. Imagine that person. Give that person a name. Picture him or her living behind your computer screen.
- When you read your posts over before you publish, read as if you are your one most important reader. Ask yourself questions that reader would ask. Make observations that reader would make.
The reason we only need one clearly defined reader is that part of learning to read is learning how to make meaning from what we need. If we write with consistency to our one reader, our audience of curious, clever, intelligent individuals can extrapolate to find what you’re saying to them.
I write with one important reader as my guide.That reader sees to it that my posts are strong, clear, and logical so readers can follow where I go. Who is that one important reader I write to?
Why it’s you, of course. Who did you think it was?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Check out the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
Power Writing for Everyone on the Successful Series Page