Do you see where I’m going with this?
I just got an email from my good friend, Andi (who writes a great blog about French things and other awesome stuff). Long story short, she’d done something pretty amazing for me and I’d thanked her. And her response began with 4 words:
Friends help friends. Period.
It’s true. They do. But only the real ones. The ones that fall under the category of margarine, SPAM, Velveta and Dachshunds? Not so much. Those ‘friends’ flee in times of trouble. They’re not quite there for you. You can see them standing there, but it’s through a veil of fog. There’s something missing, there’s not much to hold on to.
So, how do you tell the difference?
It can be tricky. Because (besides the Lab/Dachshund example up there) looks can be deceiving. But once you get in there and get the feeling for what you’re holding in your hands, putting in your mouth or talking to, there’s really no contest. The real and the fake show themselves readily. It’s hard to hide the plasticy taste of Velveta. To tell the difference, you sense it. You see, hear, smell, taste and touch. And feel it in your gut.
I think our writing follows the same map.
As a writing coach, people talk to me a lot about trying to be genuine in their communications. Should they be serious or funny? Should they try to use words they would never say out loud in conversation? Should they follow the step by step ebook they found that says you should use ‘these 10 words in every post you write and it will make you millions’? (Um, eww)
My answer is this: how does it feel? When you’re writing? When you’re reading it back to yourself out loud? When you’re reading it to someone else? Does it fill you up or collapse in your mouth? Does it sound like you or does it sound like someone else? Are you proud of it? Is your very essence oozing out of it? Does it make you tingle?
Start with you. Ask yourself these questions – and answer honestly. If you do and you act on the answers, you will find your voice, you’ll hit your stride. Then think about your reader. Because, they’re asking these questions too. They’re looking for real writers, real messages, real connections.
I don’t know about you, but I spread my butter high and thick on my bread. I’m drawn to it like hotdogs to a BBQ. And when I see margarine on the page? Click. I close the tab.
Image credit: nanio