Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Speaking Your Mind in Writing

Especially if you're writing non-fiction, speaking your mind appears to be a general rule. You're writing your truth after all, and you have some you'd like to share.

Photo by: Balaji.B, courtesy of Flickr
Unfortunately, sharing your mind in writing can be like talking to a friend and instead of listening, telling her what to do. Self-help books fall into this category, but even with a self-help book there are moments for breathers if you will, moments for the reader to seek out some reflection. The best self-help books don't merely speak their minds through you, they offer ways for the reader to take a look at their own pace.

When you speak your mind in book form, it shouldn't be spoon feeding, (making sure your reader knows everything you know) in fact, a few ideas are better; and with these ideas folks can decide what works for them and what doesn't.

Stepping back a little is a good way to see if your writing is ready for the public. After giving your first draft a few weeks of sitting alone, read it again. Pretend as if this friend is speaking to you for the first time and sharing her ideas.
Photo by oddharmonic, courtesy of Flickr
  • Take a look at how you feel. Do you feel guilty? Do you feel happy about what you're reading? Granted, there might be a very good reason you're feeling guilty, but at the same time there should be room in your non-fiction book for understanding and room for growth.
  • Do you stop often in your book to reflect on what you've just read, or do you feel as if you don't need to think at all? Is everything handed to you on a platter?
My book, "Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones," had a little bit of everything that I've mentioned. Is it a perfect read? Nope. But there are some things I'd like to mention.

Some said the book was too simple.

Others said that the book was so deep that they took notes in the margins.

A few stopped reading at chapter 2. They couldn't read on because the book sounded too much like them and their struggles with Trust. They picked up the book later, after they'd had some time to think about it.

Others read the book through in one or two days, saying they couldn't put it down.

Some have read it twice. First as merely a novel with a story, the second as a story with opportunities to learn new things and take notes.

Often, in non-fiction, where the person is currently standing in their personal life, reflects the comments they give you. And that's okay too.

In speaking your mind you still need to be honest with the truth as you see it.
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