Does What you Write Really Matter?

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 28th Jun 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing

A few month ago, another writer here on Wikinut made the comment, “At least I don't write about 'toilet seats'”. The jab was directed at me because I had just done a DIY article on toilets and toilet seats. It was directed at me because that writer and I have a very adversarial relationship. The jab to my virtual jaw did not do the damage hoped for, but it did get me started thinking about just how much does what I write about really matter. The question became why do I write?

Why do I write for the Internet?

I truly believe that, that is a question that we all need to ask ourselves over and over again. Why should we keep asking ourselves that same question? We need to ask ourselves that question from time to time because our reasons for writing change with time just as what we write about and how we write about those subjects change with time. An even more important question that we need to ask ourselves from time to time is the question, “Does what we write really matter?” We will take those questions in order because the answer to the second question pretty much hinges on the answers that you give for the first question, the question of, “Why do I write”. I think that I need to pause here to state that what I am writing about here is aimed more at the nonfiction article writers reading this than at those who write fiction because fiction writers live by a separate set of rules.

The First Question then: Why do you Write?

Every writer will have more than one answer for that question and none of them by and of themselves may be a right or wrong reason for writing. It is how they all come together to form one complete answer that will determine whether you should continue writing nonfiction or switch to writing fiction.
I write because I enjoy writing.
That is a good answer to the question. A writer must truly enjoy writing or he or she will never succeed as a writer. It is an answer that applies equally to both fiction and nonfiction wordsmiths alike. It is only one part, although an essential part, to the whole answer to the question, “Why do I write”. Do determine whether what we write as nonfiction scribes really matter, we have to ask ourselves a few more even more pointed questions.

How does what we write effect our readers?

No matter how elegant our prose, how perfect our grammar, or how brilliant our metaphors, if our readers finish what we have written for them and are not compelled to think differently, to question their way thinking, or to act differently, what we had written did not really matter to our readers. What we had written was of no importance to them. Being able to write like Faulkner or Hemingway is no small task, but it is easy to make sure we are writing with a purpose, and writing to affect our audience.
Does the reader need to know what I am writing about?
Write this question on a Sticky Note and place it prominently on your computer's monitor. No matter what I am writing about, the information that I provide in the body of my article has be information that the readers needs to know right now.
Have I provided all the information that the reader needs to know?
Put that question on a Sticky Note and stick it right up there beside the first one on your monitor. You want to include everything that your reader will need to know without having to leave your article and go to another page on the Internet to find it. This is especially true when you are writing a how-to article,no matter if it is an article about baking a wedding cake or replacing the FI Throttle body on a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier.
What do I want them to do?
That is right, put it on a Sticky Note. If what you write is to matter to your reader you must leave them with a “Call to Action.” You must leave them with an uncontrollable desire to do something. If you are writing about a social or political issue, perhaps the Call to Action would be to reevaluate their thinking on the subject. If you wrote a DIY article on how to change the oil and oil filter on a car, the Call to Action would be for the reader to go out and buy the tools and supplies that he or she needs to start servicing his or her own vehicle.

I write just because I enjoy writing.

If that is your only reason for writing, that is enough of a reason to write. It is enough reason to write short stories or a novel. It is enough reason to keep a journal or to write poetry. However, it is not enough reason to write nonfiction articles and expect those articles to really matter to your readers.

Tags

Online, Online Writing, Whydo You Write, Write, Write And Earn, Write Articles Article Writing, Write For Money, Write For Pay, Writer, Writers, Writers Life, Writes

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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author avatar johnnydod
28th Jun 2012 (#)

Well said sir, well said.and if I may be so bold as to quote Karl Marx
"The writer must earn money in order to be able to live and to write, but he must by no means live and write for the purpose of making money"
as you say Jerry you write because you love to write. and to that I say hear hear.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
28th Jun 2012 (#)

You may be so bold, Johnny.Yes, indeedy you may be!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Jun 2012 (#)

always I love your comments Johnny....

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author avatar Denise O
28th Jun 2012 (#)

I am with Johnny on this, well said my friend. I write because I enjoy it. I wish more people would understand that writing is a art form and yes I even mean down to my (and your) pet pages, to my recipes and so on. I take pride in the look of the articles I present, as much as I do with my writing content and I nurture it as much as any other artist does. Just like you and Johnny, we do not just state facts and stick a few photos here and there. We take the time to make sure our readers are informed, entertained by both our writing and all around presentation, now tell me that is not art! Well done! As always, thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
28th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank you Denise for reading and the wonderful comments.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
28th Jun 2012 (#)

Ditto to all the comments above. We write out of our passion for writing. If we all wrote for money, none of us would be publishing here. I can guess who that commenter was, Jerry. Great post.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
28th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank you Steve for the read and for the comments. I earn enough with my regular writing assignments to allow me to indulge myself hereon Wikinut.

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author avatar Val Mills
28th Jun 2012 (#)

It seems I've arrived too late here to be able to add an original comment. I too agree with the comments above, and with your article, especially asking oneself if the information is something that will be relevant to others. Unfortunately my priorities right now are not online writing and I'm stepping back for a few months, an article will appear re this shortly.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
28th Jun 2012 (#)

I look forward to reading it, val. Please don't hesitate to DM me if there is anything that I can help you with.

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author avatar Ramalingam
29th Jun 2012 (#)

I totally agree with Jerry.Going a step further, I would like to say not only non-fiction, even fiction is written with a purpose.It will not do if a fiction is written simply for the sake of enjoyment of the writer alone.The ultimate purpose of writing a fiction is to make the readers enjoy it.Going a step further revolutionary writers like Maxim Gorky wrote his 'Mother' with a purpose.Of course a novel written with humor must entertain the reader.A touching short story must linger on in the mind of the reader.Whatever we write, it is not just for the sake of enjoyment of the writer alone.Surely it should evoke a befitting response from the reader.Otherwise,any writing is below par..

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author avatar Jerry Walch
29th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank for reading and the valuable comments, Ramalingam

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Jun 2012 (#)

Good article Jerry.. I too write because it is my passion and has been for nearly 30 years. I too believe that our writings should inspire others and over the years many people have read and loved my articles on every subject nearly under the sun. So once again kudos to you for this article....

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author avatar Jerry Walch
30th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank you Cn

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author avatar Teila
30th Jun 2012 (#)

So true, writing must be in the DNA of a person because for many of us it is an obsession, well at least for me. ;)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
30th Jun 2012 (#)

No argument from me on that, dear lady.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Well said...!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Thanks!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Jul 2012 (#)

Online writing has provided me a platform, rather late in my life, to share my thoughts across a wide spectrum of society stretching right across the world. It has become a passion. When I write I become eager to read others outputs, but when I read I am anxious to share my thoughts! It is a two-way process. To benefit others in many ways is a real challenge that I like to take up! Thanks Jerry, for taking me by another notch, to another realm, a rather rarefied area! siva

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author avatar Jerry Walch
7th Jul 2012 (#)

I'm happy that you found this article useful. Thanks for reading and commenting, Siva.

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author avatar Ptrikha
27th Aug 2012 (#)

This article of yours has provided me a new insight. So far, my main aim to write Online was to make more money. Your writing makes me think in terms of "enjoying" writing first, then think of the money part. Great article!

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