Vulnerability: Open Yourself to Others with Your Writing

To write well is to open ourselves and our feelings to others. To move beyond being a writer (a person who writes just for themselves) and become an author  (a person who publishes his work and shares it with others) means exposing ourselves in ways that most people find very uncomfortable. But without this vulnerability, writing is lifeless.

It doesn’t matter what you are writing, whether it is an objective journalistic article, a work of fiction, of non-fiction, or even the most fantastic of fantasy novels, you are putting a little piece of your soul into your writing. That is what makes your work interesting, believable and readable.

But unless you are truly an exhibitionist exposing your personal thoughts and feelings to people you have never met can make you feel exposed and vulnerable. Will others think you are weak? Or silly? Will they disagree with your ideas? Will they understand your decisions? Will they identify with your dreams? But the purpose of writing is to share our experiences with others, and if you distance yourself from your readers and hide your feelings and emotions, you have negated this purpose.

There are techniques that can help take a reader into your writing such as dialogue, description, character development and setting – and yes, even non-fiction books should have at least some of these features. Only the driest, most technical of textbooks or legal documents have none of these elements. But readers can spot a phony. No matter how well you master the techniques and craft of writing, unless you express true and honest emotion, your readers will quickly become bored and move on to the next book. The only way to write a great book is to pour your heart into it.

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