Will the Real Me Please Appear on the Page!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Using the sun's reflection might help me find me
before I get to the page. Either that or I'll take
a selfie. Photo credit | EKHumphrey
I pride myself with writing what my clients need written. If I have all the information I need, I strive for getting at least 110 percent of what they want. Generally, I expect some back and forth to smooth out any rough edges. 

I’ve been working with a company to redesign and idiot-proof my website from myself (I inadvertently imploded it last year) and design incentive pieces. They are doing the heavy lifting for me, but I am writing most of the content myself.

I launched my website years ago. I updated and added to it as I went along. It has been a labor of love (well, until last year) and I’ve rarely received input from anyone else. Until now.
I turned in a 20-plus page “assignment” a couple weeks ago and the feedback stopped me in my tracks.

For such a piece, I followed the writing rules I know by heart. Here are some of them:
  • Write informally (use “you,” not slang)
  • Write clearly
  • Be honest
  • Make sure to explain well (sometimes oversimplifying is better)
 The feedback: I needed to add more of me into the mix.

In reviewing what I had written, I realize that I had stepped out of my normal chatty self and returned to following the rules and being The Writer. Sure, I was conveying the information clearly, but I wasn’t connecting with the readers in the way that would bring them closer to knowing me. I needed to stop being my own client and start being me. I had left my heart out of my writing and my writing for a living had appeared on the page.

I started reviewing some of my recent fiction and recognized the voice of The Writer working for her clients, but not the me I want my readers to know.I need to spend some time reflecting on what I want my readers to know about me and who I am before I sit down to write for me.

From now on, I’m going to reflect and reconnect with me before I sit down to write my work.

How about you? Have you ever had that happen where you wrote something, but left your true self on the sidelines when you were supposed to be in the game?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor waiting to see what Tropical Storm Arthur is going to do today. Her publications include Idiot’s Guide: Gluten-Free Eating.


Margo Dill said...

This is interesting! I think I do this all the time with my fiction, and now it's something I will keep in the back of my mind, too for my nonfiction.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this constantly.

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