Friday, August 29, 2014

The Fear of Being Real: Trusting Readers (Part 2 of 4)

(This is a guest post from Peter Lundell.)

Too often we harbor an unspoken fear about our readers. It’s so unspoken we’re often not aware of it ourselves. The fear is this: If you really knew me, you wouldn’t like me.

When Cec Murphey first said that line to me, I didn’t want it to be true in what I wrote. But it was true. I wanted readers to like me, and I falsely thought that if I revealed my failings, they wouldn’t like me. So I put on a mask of success. Not only did readers not like me. I didn’t even like me.

When my readers commented on my book, Prayer Power (retitled Closer to God), they typically most liked the parts where I messed up. They could relate. And when I expressed what I learned, they received it.

They didn’t turn away from me. They turned toward me. And they turned their friends toward me too. And toward my message.

Does your best friend want you to be openly honest about your shortcomings? Yes. And does he or she still like you? Yes. And value your friendship even more? Yes. Treat your reader as your best friend.

If doing this scares you, try it in small ways at first. Maybe in an email to just one person. Maybe in a blog post you can remove. Go from there, and your readers will go with you.

—Peter Lundell, peter@PeterLundell.com

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