3 ways to ensure your writing reaches readers
You asked for people to let you now why they write - I had to answer this recently so had this to hand fairly quickly: I write in the hope that I may become less invisible. Which is ironic, given how difficult it is for any book to be published in the first instance and then sell lots of copies in the second instance - writing a novel is nothing if not hopeful persistence in the face of absolute and constant uncertainty. I write in the hope that I affect somebody else in a 'oh yeah, I feel that!' kind of way, even if this lasts for only a few seconds. I will have still changed the universe a smidge, a fraction towards the better.
All I can say is that it was the total truth in that particular moment. I think it is still truthful now. I hope it will be the truth in a year's time. It's a complex question! :)
As I'm also somewhat introverted, I write because it brings me a deep connection with readers. They know me through my words and I learn about them in turn❤️
Well, Dan, time to break out the Clarity Cards again. I'm in transition now that the memoir is published and out in the world. What's next? For me, it's not just about writing the next thing--hence the clarity card exercise.
I recently read this from Rick Rubin's book, "The Creative Act: A Way of Being": "We aren't creating to produce or sell material products. The act of creation is an attempt to enter a mysterious realm. A longing to transcend. What we create allows us to share glimpses of an inner landscape, one that is beyond our understanding. Art is our portal to the unseen world."
And as I prepare to launch my Substack newsletter (thanks again for your great workshop on that), I'm considering what I have to say and how I will say it in this new format.
Thanks for including the Halloween costume family portrait. I was looking forward to seeing what the Blank Family costuming would be this year. And thanks always for your thoughtful Friday newsletters.
Writing allows me to go deeper than most live conversations allow. In writing I can speak uninterrupted! My deeper purpose for writing is to co-create with readers a future that is healthy, joyful and life affirming. The world is crying out for this!
Why I paint what I do? I’m highlighting that we are all alike in that we are on a soul journey that evolves and rolls along daily, like the weather. There are heavy times, exciting times, sad times, worried times...times when we are depleted and defeated. My paintings capture these random moments using color, marks, line, and botanical/floral shapes as a visual metaphor for this “soul weather.” My hope is people will be reminded they are always growing, improving, forgiving, and gaining wisdom each day. We aren’t meant to be perfect. Each painting is a wink and a hug that we are ok.
Great messages. We could drown in all of the information out there telling us what we should or could be doing. We are unique and no one does what we do like we can, and authenticity is noticed and appreciated.
I write because it’s the gift I was born with. To not use it and let it die with me is an insult to the Divine. As someone who spent five years as a bedside companion to the dying I know how precious every passing moment is. I’m here to create my legacy. So I write and teach.
I love your voice in this space, Dan. Through your words, I am reminded to turn inwards for guidance and am learning from the way you make offers—gently and sincerely.
My answer to your question -- I write to learn about myself, to seek truth in the gray areas, and to encourage men on their healing paths.
I write to reassure the person who feels like me—alone, awkward, overly-sensitive—that we're in it together.
Writing helps me get things out of my head. Since my mind never really shuts off, I write down a lot of gibberish, but it's out, it's recorded, and I may never use 99 percent of it. Important thing is that it's OUT. I also write to explore thoughts and learn more about my inner workings.
Dan, I love how you still use the photo of my clarity cards from almost 5 years ago when I was in your mastermind group.
The key takeaway here for me is about risk. I've been exploring this concept in my own essays on Substack, but also in my personal journaling. There is incredible overlap in one's personal and professional life when you are doing creative work.
It seems vital to continue becoming acquainted with oneself, as we evolve and grow, because this necessarily influences what and how and when and why we create.
Risk is difficult in creative work, because it generalizes from personal experience. Many of us are told that we should choose safety over risk. Risk is not usually posited in a healthy way when we're young. It's labeled as reckless or impulsive or hazardous.
But I've discovered that healthy risk is an essential component to moving forward in my creative work. Everyone gets to define what types of risks they are willing to take. But in any capacity, it means each of us must stretch, confront some uncomfortable feelings, take chances that we may fall or fail.
Thank you for encouraging us to forget about balance!! I think I have been feeling guilty about moving that direction the last few years..
Thanks for sharing your lovely journey with all of us Dan.
All us creatives need such inspirational stories to keep going, and the clarity card trick, I am doing right away and sending you pictures soon. What a brilliant way to figure out priorities. :)
I'm fairly new to Substack and new to your work. I look forward to playing with clarity cards now. I recently wrote about why I'm drawn to write: I finally understand that I care about it more than anything, save my kids. I've ignored the need to write for years at a time but the urge fortunately has never faded. The need is about making sense of the stories and impressions I've collected and at times, to work to transform them into something new.
Thank you for offering this candid and introspective glimpse into your creative journey over the past 13 years. I agree with your philosophy focusing on creating meaningful experiences aligns with the idea of prioritising what truly matters. We evolve and so must our style of writing as you have rightly put "your craft grows, your work moves in new directions, your process changes as you evolve." Looking forward to more exchange on this topic of writing. BTW I found you because of @matthewmlong's recommendation
After exchanging some "Perfectly on Time" ideas with a dear and close friend this morning, it struck me that perhaps we can utilize your "Clarity Cards Exercise" to also help us set some new "boundaries and priorities". We find ourselves in states of "overwhelm" more than necessary and it's going to be interesting to see what we land with. Thanks for the post Dan!