Stories have to hook into personalization. People want the closeness of the other; we want to feel seen, and to be a person who counts. We want to feel part of a group of people, and we want to feel like we’re winning, ideologically.
People are usually willing to be miserable, lonely, and in pain rather than admit that they have been wrong. Ergo, it is wise, as an author seeking an audience, to be mindful of the pre-existing opinions and world-views of the reader.
The swiftest way to win is to bypass all higher thought. Hijack the biology of your audience; they are all mammals, and they all have basic psychological needs. If you can scratch that subterranean itch, you will get somewhere.
Okay, What Are The Deep Psychological Needs Of My Reader?
The deepest human need is to be seen; to exist as a valid, discrete entity. Babies go through what I believe is called “mirroring,” where they first identify with the mother, as in, mom and I are one, and then separate, and reflect whatever mom does. This, of course, is a vast overgeneralization, but the point is that many humans have never, on a deep, visceral level, felt joined to and then reflected by a work of fiction. They have not felt seen, or experienced genuine intimacy, on a holistic level, through written words. If they have experienced this kind of closeness, they hunger for it, and search for it.
So Now I’m The Reader’s Mother?
In a psychological sense, and on a practical level, yes, you can address a universal, inner child need within your reader, and then feed in them a deep and lasting hunger for connection to you. It can be done.
That’s Neat; Show Me How
Vulnerability and humility are the starting point; when you expose your genuine self, the selves of others around you (in this case, your potential readers) respond to the energy much as sunflowers turn towards the light, or as a young child turns towards the nurturing entity (the mother, as it were).
Yes, But How?
Imagine yourself in the center of an opaque white curtain; picture it hanging around you in a circle. Now take your hands and hold onto the two edges of the curtain. You’re going to peek out from your genuine self, for two seconds, then you’re going to go back into hiding. Ready? Open a crack in the curtain, and put your face out. Look at the things and people around you. Now, go ahead and hide behind the curtain again.
What About Writing?
When you expose yourself (vulnerability) with humility and respect for yourself and others, your stories become imbued with a sense of danger, of closeness, and of rare intimacy. Next time you sit down to write your book (or your essay, or your poems), take your keyboard or your notebook inside that circular opaque curtain, and write in the space of your genuine self. Your words will become saturated with intimacy and with grace, and your readers will feel strangely compelled to reach out and touch you, with money, or with praise, or with the gift of further attention.
Yourself Is What You Have To Sell
Vulnerability is a skill; humility is a grounded attitude. Gain both, and you will have commodities to offer on the open market.
You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. You can buy my books here. Have a nice day!