Authenticity is a bit of a buzzword nowadays: Live an authentic life. Act from a place of authenticity…
Writers have known this secret from…I don’t know…maybe when they started drawing on caves. They drew pictures of their experiences that told a story–the animals they encountered, the landscape they traversed.
It hasn’t changed all that much. We just have words now to paint our pictures.
Your job is to make those pictures become real for your reader. And to do that, there has to be a part of you in the writing–even if you’re not writing a novel or memoir but a how-to book. Maybe especially in a how-to book.
Readers like stories and they respond to stories that employ all their senses. So, even in an anecdote, don’t just tell us how your client Suzie went from the poorhouse to millionaire entrepreneur. Show us how you reacted–what you thought, felt and did–that first moment she called you on the phone or sashayed into your office, swinging her hips and whistling Good Morning Star Shine from the musical Hair.
Did you feel a pang in the pit of your stomach worrying that you might not be able to help her? Did you think she was a little loony? Find a way to make that come across without telling us (your readers) but by showing us.
Often, writing from an authentic place means writing into that place where you don’t know what you’re going to write–exploring, asking questions, going beyond the known to the unknown. Asking, what really was going on inside me at that moment?
My colleague Linda Joy talks about authenticity often–she talks about building your business, your brand, and even your platform–or following– from authenticity.
Sure, some people may be scared away when you break out of Generic-me into Real-me mode. But that’s okay. Those who are scared away are the ones you’re not meant to work with anyway. The people who are meant to work with you will be attracted to that real person who are you being.
Join me and Linda tonight when we share how you can write your book–and build your platform as an author from that place of authenticity on our free teleseminar: Birth Your Book: From Inspiration to Published Author.
Hi Lisa – Great article! I don’t know why authenticity can be so difficult. As writers, it is essential, but it is also so exposing. I wrote about my experience in an article called Writing with Authenticity, The Uncomfortable Naked Truth a while back. Thought I’d share it with your readers. http://www.amybethobrien.com/home/writing-with-authenticity-the-uncomfortable-naked-truth/