Knowing helps you to keep your reader interested

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

A few days ago an old schoolmate of mine messaged me saying that he loved my stories. I was pleasantly surprised. I did not even know that he read my blogs except for those few times I asked him for comments. He did respond, directing me to several typos in one of my posts. I thanked him and made the corrections. Now, in retrospect, I should have asked him what was it that he loved about my writings.

Was it that the posts are quite short and can be read in quick time?

Was it the topic, of everyday spirituality?

Was it that I always started off with a story or anecdote that dovetailed into a spiritual lesson I learned or a message I wanted to share?

Was it my skilful (tongue in cheek) use of the English Language?

It may be a combination of all of the above.

I was reading a story written by someone on Medium, (I do not recall the author’s name) and he was talking about how to get people to read your blogs. One of the most important points he gave was to ‘always have a story’ and I agreed with him. People love a good story, that is why fairy tales and fables have withstood the test of times.

Then the length of the post is also important. We lead busy lives, busy doing a lot of what need not be done but we feel justified in the doing. This means we do not have time to read anything that will take up too much of our precious minutes, plus reading is probably the one thing we cannot multitask, we are either reading or not. Unlike watching tv or listening to a podcast, it requires undivided attention to get the full understanding, and for this reason, I keep my posts short, most times under a few minutes. You read and then go onto the next best thing in your life, hopefully with a thought to chew on.

Myself, I read a lot and admit that I always look for the story in the story, keeping a close eye on how long it took the writer to get to it. So often, I read the beginning, skip to the middle, taking in the gist of it, and then move onto the conclusion. I apologize to those writers who painstakingly write, then check and recheck only for people like me to skip around in the piece. I guess to avoid our work being used as a piece of gym equipment, we ought to write, get to the point, and not waste time with words.

It becomes particularly difficult when we speak about the topic of spirituality. Writers, like myself, try to explain, using words, something that can only be experienced, and in the midst of it all, we lose the reader. The ideas being shared, in some cases really reach for the ‘out there’ because honestly, there is where the truth lies. Unfortunately, words are not the most adequate space ship to get there.

The final reason I believe that people read my posts or any post is for the colourful use of language. There are many times when I write and then go back and ask myself, ‘now where did that come from?’

I enjoy sharing my thoughts and ideas under the guise of well-written prose. I am happy and contented with where this process has taken me and every day I continue to reach for more.

If you have read so far into the post, then there must be a reason for it.

Is it one of the above or do you have a reason for your own?

If so, please do tell.

Asking the Why was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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