The Art of Personal Writing that’s Not Self-Indulgent

The Art of Personal Writing that’s Not Self-Indulgent

Reader Comments (12)

  1. This post is a useful reminder to keep your focus where it belongs in each piece you write. Finding that balance point between being personal enough to be accessible to your reader and being overly open to the point of losing your reader is a highly effective skill to learn.

    I enjoyed the linked article about “ruthless editing” as well. Speaking as an editor who works with writers at various skill levels, I have to say that the most difficult writer to edit for is still myself. It’s a challenge to cut things down sometimes!

    These 7 tips are worthy of learning in order to increase the effectiveness of your content. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m a big supporter of writers developing self-editing skills. 🙂

      It’s really a matter of — to use your phrase — getting good at recognizing the parts where you’ll “lose your reader.”

      Thanks for sharing, Jane!

  2. Being genuine helps you find that balance Stefanie.

    Per being human, we overthink stuff. But when writing from the heart you are being you, sharing your personal journey, having fun and connecting with exactly the folks who want to hear your personal stories. Even if said stories stray into the realm of self-indulgent behavior.

    My readers care not for nature shots, even though I share ’em regularly. Nope; selfies are preferred. As are my silly stories, and links to blogging. Definitely off the cuff in many regards yet I have fun writing these tales and my readers have spoken. This works nicely with your advice. Listen, and feel their nudges.

    Being genuine is key though. Like if you are being your authentic self through your writing, readers who crave that message – even if self-focused – find you and gobble it up, wanting more. The vicariously living through me thing in play and I am a change up in both travel and blogging tips niches.

    Cool share Stefanie. I will begin reading CB regularly again; absolute gem I have missed while busy with other fun stuff. I will be back 😉


  3. These points hit a salient point with me right now. A friend asked me to help him write a memoir, but I struggled to say why I was leery of the project. You captured those concerns here though; self-indulgence, lack of direction, knowing your audience;yup, those are all flags. And as much as I might be guilty of some of these traits in my own writing on occasion, when it comes to ghost writing a book for someone else, I don’t want to get lost in the process.

    Thanks for sharing Stefanie

    • Terrific example, Katherine!

      Lack of direction is a major obstacle for editors and ghostwriters. It’s hard to do your best work on a project when there is no clear point.

      Good luck breaking the news to your friend …

      My suggestion is letting him know that where he’s at right now is not the right fit for how you work. Here are some more thoughts about the benefits of saying “no,” if you’re interested:

  4. Yeah, this hit home. I am a proofer. I find allllllllll kinds (!) of problems with client files… but every once in a while one of my editors or proofers taps my humble button.

    I doubled down, timewise, to get an inspiration-came-out-of-the-blue article written quickly. I was so proud of it, but one of my editors moved stuff around and slashed four sentences. In a row!

    She said, “It all works fine, but if you do this, it will FLOW fine.”

    Ouch. Yep. We have to be careful not to press too much and leave the audience behind.

    Appreciate this (ouch!) one :->

  5. Absolutely agree with this, especially point number 2! People overlook the power of storytelling outside of the obvious applications.

    Emails, internal communications, slideshows, simple landing pages, whatever… they can all benefit from inserting a bit of that ‘journey’ (whether it ends up being first person or not.)

    Great post!

  6. My posts typically revolve around expressing a personal opinion, but I’m often loathe to dive into too much personal information for fear of that “self-indulgent” moniker. Why should people care about me and my opinions more than anyone else’s?

    My wife (who is not a writer but is much smarter than me) is constantly pushing me to write more personally. This article is a great supporting argument that you can write personally without making everything about yourself. Can’t wait to tell her that — as usual — she’s right.

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