It’s tempting to try to jump on a trend.
I’m willing to bet that many of us that (try to) write have seen a post that looks like it wasn’t very difficult to write go on to do big numbers and major engagement.
I know I have.
I read it and thought to myself, I can do that.
So I did it.
I followed the formula like a paint-by-numbers. I even threw in a word here and there that wasn’t in my voice but sounded like it fit with the piece.
I published it and waited for it blow up.
I waited and waited. And waited.
Nothing happened. The flood of applause and social media shares never came. I followed the same formula, so what gives?
Anyone that has ever created anything knows that there is an unseen element — heart, creativity, originality, something — that comes across in the finished product that can’t be manufactured or fabricated. How many musical artists have made a hit without really trying and then employed the same identical formula — same producer, same vocalist, same topic— with lackluster results?
It was honest the first time, but calculated the second (and third and fourth) time and that comes across in the work.
“Write what you know” has long been a popular piece of advice and while it’s true, I don’t think it goes far enough. Knowing isn’t enough to connect with a reader. I’d suggest changing it to “Write what you feel.”
Because when you feel it, your audience can’t help but feel it too.
Christopher Pierznik’s nine books are available in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Medium, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.