Writing is a form of communication, that’s for damn sure.
And it’s when you forget that it’s communication that your writing suffers.
But a lot of people think writing is communication that’s simply about sending messages. I mean, it totally is. Unless it’s private like a diary, when you write, you’re putting out words, and you’re doing so knowing that someone could possibly read it.
You’re communicating with the reader by talking to them.
But if you’re doing it right, you need to listen, too.
Online writing is handy because of all the feedback you get. True, some of that feedback can be quite negative — and difficult for new writers to deal with (nasty comments, insults, hate mail, and the like). But there’s a lot in there that’s valuable, if you can turn off your instincts to be defensive.
Sometimes the most telling feedback is no feedback. When you write a piece and no one seems to engage with it or even read it, that’s telling, too. It’s a form of nonverbal communication.
It’s something I wish I’d known an awfully long time ago: Getting your work to connect with a wider audience doesn’t have to be about selling out. Or being someone you’re not.
But it’s also not about believing as hard as you can that you’ll make it and just doing whatever your heart desires and poof your dreams all come true.
It’s about figuring out where YOU and other people INTERSECT. And then doing that. A lot.
And making a series of tiny adjustments to expand that overlap, to make it as big as possible.
So that you end up able to create things that represent you and that you love that are also popular and connect with people.
And that entire process is a series of quick, tiny — but meaningful — communications. Between you and whoever it is that you’re trying to reach.