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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Writing with Love

In a little tidbit from the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie (short version of the book here), Carnegie tells a story about a writer who failed because no matter how well he wrote, his readers could tell he disdained them.

Do you love your readers?

Are you furious, writing satirically because you're pissed off at society and you want change? Good. But does that bitterness begin to target your readers, or does it, in true Mark Twain style, invite them into your side, your sarcasm, your vengeful inside joke with you?

Are you telling a story for the sake of art? To make something beautiful for you, for its own sake, and "who cares what they think"? Good. But does that art exclude your reader, or does it invite her down a path she's never taken? When you stand alone, unique against the onslaught of conformity, is your reader allowed to stand with you?

There's always a debate, a tension, between writing something publishable and writing something true to you. The thread that ties these together--the equation that collapses the paradoxical wave function, if you like quantum things--is love. Love of your subject drives you to uniqueness, to your story, to your art, to your fire, your satirical stand alone; love of the people drives you to motivate them, to revision and more, to the adaptation of art so that it's accessible to someone who isn't you. Love forces you to look inside yourself, and yet step outside yourself. Love makes you listen to your agent and to critique, because you want to give something to your reader. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor 13)--the true story you weave through fiction, the story beyond what is "publishable." But love bears all things.

Love is the best way to write a book.


  1. Aloha,

    I love to write and I absolutely write for The Reader.

    When I was a beat reporter, I would kill myself with research, overtime, lack of sleep, interviews and edits to get THE right story to my editor.

    Then it would be published and I'd never read it again.

    Why? Because I gave The Reader the best I could - and I can't change what's on the paper...

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post :)

    I also wanted to say thanks very much for stopping by and commenting on my recent D-Day post. (I'm still working through all the comments!)

    CSM Ryan's story has received an incredible amount of support and a HUGE *Thank you* goes to DL Hammons - and all the Blitzers :)

    PS: Bill said to let everyone know he really appreciated all the personal comments directed his way :)

    1. You, by the way, are awesome. Beat reporter, military contacts, writer, Hawaii-blog, parent--yeah, I've been following and you're awesome. Just in case anyone sees this comment, they should click on your name!

      Haha and thanks for the visit. Took me a while to check the comment, but I thank you!