Last post I asked all the readers to consider the question: why would anyone want to read my work? As a business must consider how to add value to its customers, so too does the writer. As a business chooses a core strategy, so too can the writer.
Let’s dig a little deeper. First, take the concept of added value. What options exist for adding value? Here are a few (I’d love to hear your thoughts as well):
- Provide entertainment
- Provoke thought
- Relate common experiences or emotions
- Develop an understanding or teach
- Inspire (or maybe depress)
- Offer social commentary
- Express creativity
Many works of art include several levels of value-added material. The writer might provide entertainment while simultaneously provoking thought and offering social commentary. The key is to strategically choose your main focus. Don’t choose too many, because you will dilute your purpose. Let’s use a popular writer as an example.
Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park and Congo, writes first and foremost to entertain, but he also weaves in scientific facts and things he has learned about his subject. His strategy? Primarily to entertain, but in a way that heightens the readers knowledge.
When defining your core strategy, answer two questions:
- How can my writing add value to my readers?
- How do I want my readers to respond to my work?
In the next post I’ll walk through this exercise in detail to show you how it works at a functional level. In the meantime, answer questions one and two (and if you feel up to it, post your answers in a comment).