Three Tips to Writing Interesting Work that Actually Gets Read
And isn’t that what all of us writers want–to write interesting work?
While there are a lot of us calling ourselves writers, how many of us are doing really interesting work.
Those who are seem to have something in common—they are interesting people who know where to find interested readers.
Because a task like this seems to be a 30,000-foot climb, some have created shortcuts. You might call these work-arounds. Or, you could call them hacks.
I’ll share a couple of them.
There are those who have broken onto the writing scene as meta-writers. A meta-writer is someone who writes about writing. These are the people you’ve come across who want to teach you what they’ve done to be successful writers.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. And I’m not saying these are bad folks who don’t take writing seriously. Writers do need to know how to write and get published, and not a few have become successful teaching them how.
The problem is there are a lot of these “teachers” who are actually not that good at writing, but they get a lot of attention because the idea of learning how to get paid to write is extremely interesting to aspiring writers.
There’s a second hack that works well too.
Kick someone’s butt on the internet. I mean go all MMA about some topic that is going to piss a lot of people off. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a little strong language too, just to show them you’re fired up. You can be sure not a few find that kind of writing intensely interesting—even if it’s just to read all the comments that follow.
I’m sure you can think of a few writers like that, those shock jocks who are always picking a fight or stirring the pot. They get a lot of attention, so of course, that’s another work around.
Now before I talk about a third way, I want to reiterate that I’m not saying either of the former approaches are necessarily wrong or bad. I’ve tried them both myself, and a lot of writers have found these methods successful in getting their message out.
If you have a bone to pick, writing is a great way to pick it.
If you have something valuable to teach, then writing is a great way to teach it.
And if either of those are authentically you, then go for it. (That advice alone is worth the price you paid to read this post. You’re welcome.)
A Third Way
But what happens if you don’t write to fight, or you don’t want to elbow your way into the overcrowded arena of meta-writers and limit yourself to regurgitating something a thousand other people are already saying?
What if you want to write poetry. Or short stories? Or novels? What if you want to write philosophically or theologically? What if you want to wax eloquent about nature, music, or romance? What if you want to write a guide for surviving college, surviving your first job, or surviving marriage?
Heck, what if you want to write a guide about surviving your first marriage while working a job at a college?
How do you get people to be interested in, pay attention to, and even pay you for your writing when you want to explore something more obscure than pop-politics, the craft of writing, or internet marketing?
How does one write interesting work about ordinary topics, and get other people interested in that work?
You could navigate the harrowing straits between charybdis and scylla, brave the deadly song of the sirens, travel down to Hades, or pray Athena Pallas to send you a mentor–someone famous and successful–to show you how.
Or, you could try these three super-simple tips someone showed me a few years back. They’ve helped me a bunch on my writing journey; I think they’ll help you too.
Plus, if you try these tips you won’t have to worry about shipwrecking in the Aegean trying to figure this journey out on your own.
Three Writing Tips
I am going to explain these in greater detail in future posts, but in a nutshell, here are three tips to writing interesting work about ordinary topics—the kind of work other people will want to engage with:
- Become a more interesting person, and your writing will become more interesting, organically.
- Build authentic relationships with people who share your interests and you will naturally cultivate a community of like-minded people who want you to share your work with them.
- Finally, treat your writing projects like you are actually interested in them. Readers are more apt to respect your voice and take you seriously if you give your writing the dignity it deserves and treat it like the profession that it is. Interested writers are interesting to read.
These steps do require some work, and as I mentioned, they need to be fleshed out. But believe me, they are fail-safe, fool-proof, and simple.
As long as you’re not one of those people hiding behind your computer screen calling yourself a writer and just hoping the title sticks before anyone finds out, you can use these tips to create genuine interest in your work, because your work will be genuinely interesting.
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In a series of posts, I am going to expound these principles more fully and show you the principles someone taught me that allowed me to write what I wanted to write about, secure my first 2000 followers, and sell my first book.
Following the tips I share with you will help your writing get the attention it deserves without compromising your integrity, or acting like some shady snake-oil salesman.
As I mentioned, the articles are all free. Sharing them with you is not a pitch to get you to buy something else. It’s simply my attempt at helping enrich the blogosphere with interesting content that is beneficial to humanity.
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About Scott Postma
Scott lives in North Idaho collecting more books than he'll ever read in a lifetime. He helps people cultivate their capacity to perceive and appreciate the good, the true, and the beautiful by sharing rich insights into the arts and humanities, meaningful perspective on faith and culture, and valuable tips on writing and teaching. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.