Pandora Hope|4 December 2014
“A truth hidden in plain sight is this—the primary purpose of writing is to be read. Your words, however persuasive, bedazzling, enlightening or life-changing, serve no purpose until they are read. The job of the writer is to use all the arts at her disposal to seduce the reader into her work. There is little disagreement about this. Vigorous debate, however, continues about the methods of seduction.”
When I first read this quote I thought what you’re probably thinking. Well, that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? But the ‘truth hidden in plain sight’ got me thinking. However brilliant your writing is, if no one is going to read it…well, it’s pretty pointless, isn’t it? And guess what, I had to admit I was usually too busy trying to create awesome/clever/sizzling words to focus on the ‘hidden in plain sight’ question: “How do I get people to read this?”
It was a moment of bitter enlightenment. I’d gotten my chickens and eggs mixed up. Because whether I wrote an email, a letter, a story, an advertisement or a job application, I certainly wanted it to be read. It didn’t matter how ‘awesome’ I thought the piece was if no one read it except me, congratulating myself on my lonely awesomeness. Mulling about lonely awesomeness got me seriously focused on the seduction bit of the quote. It takes two to tango, right? Writer+Reader. Or hopefully, many, many readers. So if there is a class going in ‘word seduction’, I am definitely signing up. Until there is, though, I’m going to try out a few ideas.