Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Writing Articles (Part 13 of 21)

Two Qualities Every Article or Book Needs

I've previously mentioned the need for uniqueness. That is, what can you say that hasn't been said endlessly and probably better than you could?

One major method I used in my early days is what I call the yes-but concept. When I read what others say on a topic that I'm interested in, I mentally argue with them. I read their presentation and say, "Yes, that's true, but. . ." That is, I try to think of what the author isn't saying or I raise my own questions.

The second quality every article needs is universality. Whatever idea you have, you need to show readers how it applies to them. Your premise must be important enough for readers to say, "Yes, that's something I need to read."

If you want to talk about coping with an illness that only one person in 40 million people face, you'll have trouble marketing that idea. But you could write about the mental and physical anguish of coping with a debilitating illness and use your experience to illustrate your premise.

When I write for publication 
I remind myself of uniqueness and universality. 
My writing needs both.


  1. Thank you for this insight. I have not really read with a yes, but thought process yet. I converse with my books, I write all over the margins, but for the most part it is a way to summarize something that is so important to remember or to bring out a two or three word point that is a gem that I want to remember. When I do question or disagree with what I am writing, I often cross it out or write no on the words, but have never thought to take it that one further step of "no" but then what. And "yes" but than what will push me way beyond because I am frankly usually enjoying learning and grasping to get to the point of understanding enough to say yes. I do though read very 'heady' books -- older authors -- what some younger up-and-coming writers call dead authors.

    I laughed when I heard someone teaching a few years ago say, yes, but those are dead authors what are living authors saying. And my heart when - ouch, for I am continually reading the living words of authors who are now dead in this world but alive in the next!

    I have really been delving lately into what is my uniqueness due to a friends blog that has weekly been focusing on this point. I am coming to see myself as unique in the fact that I am a very transparent writer - that being an openly vulnerable person - a naked writer - is what is most natural to me, and in many ways universally a cautious or even scary reflection to others because it makes them see parts of themselves that they long to hide/ignore.

    My crafting as a writer is going to be having to figure out how to be naked, but at the same time how to not make my reader feel pain in being exposed. Who would want to be a pain-causing writer? So I need to learn how to take that vulnerability that flows from my unquestionable unconditional love God has for me and temper it to be universally readable. It is a challenge.

  2. Okay, I will try this, Cec. Good points!


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