Searching for Significance

Today’s guest blog is by Fine Lines friend, Ashley Kresl

Why Me?

keyboard workThere are endless struggles associated with being a writer. We face them at different times and for different reasons. The battle tearing through my writing life lately seems simple enough: significance. Even in writing this blog post, I had so many questions. Why my thoughts? Why these thoughts? Why today? The request to write a guest post was straightforward enough. But… you want me to write something just to write it? Just to hear the sound of my own voice? And then there was the most frightening question of all: what if I don’t have anything to say?

 Key principles to consider:

Write with your audience in mind.

I try to write with a reasonably clear picture of who I expect my readers to be. When I make a decision about what and how to write, I consider who might be attracted and who might be repelled by that choice. I consider any assumptions I might be making about my readers-to-be, and the context within which they might be viewing my piece.

Write with your purpose in mind.

I’ve found that a surprising amount of clarity can come from making a simple statement of purpose about a piece of writing. Maybe I’m trying to make my readers laugh. Maybe I want to educate them, or incite them to ask questions in their own lives. Maybe I want them to feel anger, sorrow, or catharsis. Maybe I want them to feel what I was feeling when I wrote the piece, and maybe not. In any case, making a clear statement of what I’m trying to accomplish can give me the confidence to start stringing words together.
Unpack for conciseness.

When I travel, I always stick to the old wisdom of putting everything you think you’ll need in a suitcase, then taking half of it out. You never need as much as you think you will, and unnecessary stuff just weighs you down. As writers, we, too, can “unpack” our writing, shedding unnecessary words, redundant sentences, and wandering tangents. If your piece feels cluttered and unfocused, it probably is. Unpacking can save the day.

Now I open the floor to all of you. Have you ever struggled with significance or with your reasons for writing? What’s your trick for snapping out of it?


Bio: Ashley Kresl is a cubicle-dwelling language enthusiast in Omaha, Nebraska. Read with me: