Sunday, September 19, 2010

Too Eager

Most of us did our first serious writing in school for teachers.

What this means is most of us learned to write for a grade, and if we didn't write exactly what our teachers wanted to see, that grade wouldn't be a good one.

Are you still writing for a good grade? Are you too eager to write what your audience wants to hear? Are you, in the words of Natalie Goldberg, trying to give your readers what you think they want?

I have news for you. School's over. There are no teachers grading you any more. You're an adult, and you are your own teacher now. There's just you and your voice, and the dignity and honesty you have in sharing it.

Don't give your readers what they want. Instead, challenge them. Violate their expectations. Ask them difficult questions. Flatly disagree with them, tell them why, and ask them to disagree with you.

Don't be so eager to please.