Have you ever thought about writing a book or a short story, but have a hard time getting started? It most likely is because you are not focused. Even if you are more of a journal writer, it can be difficult on where to start writing if you aren’t sure exactly what you want to capture.
The Power of Focus
A question I always ask my clients is, “Who are you writing for?” The most common response is, “Well, anyone can be encouraged by my story.” Yes, anyone CAN be encouraged by your story, but, if you write to EVERYONE, it will speak to NO ONE!
Let’s take a look at your writing as if it was a dinner party. Dinner is something everyone can use, because EVERYONE needs to eat..right? If you went to plan this dinner party with no theme and no focus on specifically who is invited, where would you start? Would you serve pizza and wings or Beef Wellington? Does your menu offer kosher or vegetarian options? Is the music a soft classical concerto or would you be thumping the base of pop music? Without focus and a plan, it makes the vision of the dinner party unclear…and the planning and execution overwhelming.
Now let’s see what happens when we focus on the purpose of the party and guests who will be invited. Let’s say we are planning a “dinner party” for a group of 10 year old kids. I can see pepperoni pizza and ice cream on the menu; paper plates and maybe even some balloons as decorations. The clarity in vision makes it easy to take the next step.
Now think of a dinner party celebrating the completion of your friend’s doctoral degree. First of all, the average age of the guests would most likely be much higher than 10 years old. You might expect a fancier meal…and maybe even multiple courses served on fine china. The table it beautiful with real candles and flowers for the centerpiece.
In this example, with the kid’s pizza party, if a parent asked, they could stay and enjoy pizza and ice cream. And likewise, if a guest for your dinner party brought their child, that child could come and enjoy the fancy meal. but notice how the events are planned and executed for the original invitees.
Three Areas to Pinpoint When Writing for Impact
Now let’s apply this concept of focus to your writing. Before you start to write, it is important to have a clear focus on three things: who you are writing for, what message you want to convey, and how can the reader apply this message to their life.
1. Who are you writing for?
Your first step is to answer the question, “Who is this book for?” Define the age group, gender, background, attention span, and what they like or dislike. Make sure the references you make are relatable to your audience. This becomes very easy once you pinpoint your target audience. The way you speak to your mother is very different than the way you would speak to a group of teenagers.
Once you have the idea of who your audience is, find a photo of someone who fits in that category and keep that photo next to your computer or notebook as you write. This will help you keep focused on your target audience.
2. What is your message?
Have your stories ever ended with the look, “And why did you just tell me that story?” I will admit, that has happened to me! So as you are writing your story, start with the end in mind! Is your message about overcoming the feeling of rejection or how you increase your courage by doing something courageous. Then as you write your story, make sure all of the parts you are telling point back to your message.
3. How can the reader apply some aspect of your story to their life?
One way to have your writing make a difference is to actually challenge your reader to take action. You can challenge them to try something that can grow their faith or gain more confidence; or encourage involvement with a local or national organization. The call to action may just be to become more mindful of a certain situation.
Writing can be challenging; but when you get a clear focus on who you are writing it for and the message you want to convey, the process gets much easier! Take a deep breath, gain clarity and dive in! That one person needs to hear your story!
Need more help to get started? Download this FREE guide – 7 Keys to Start Writing Your Story