Writing that Sparks Joy Within Ourselves
Everything feels so intense, so serious, forty hours a week for ten years masking my neurodivergence that I had forgotten how to find my joy in writing. This month the message is clear; be weird, whimsical and write for yourself. Too much energy has been wasted speaking to a void. Writing for everyone, while a noble goal, ends up writing for no one in particular.
An Imaginary Audience
Overthinking is something I do best. While writing my academic sample for applying to Quinnipiac, “Inclusivity in Online Communication Platforms”, I focused on writing that included a wide variety of underrepresented audiences. Now, I feel that’s only half of the story. Zinsser’s On Writing Well (pg. 24) offers the rest of the story, “Don’t try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person”.
In class this week’s class I found an example of a student following their joy. I was tasked to review my colleague D’s topic of choice on discussing maia arson crimew. I’d read about maia the week prior to this assignment and was utterly delighted by the news and person it was about. To stumble upon a mention of it and it’s work in class, along with how D wrote about it, brought me such joy. D’s comparison was meaningful, yet lighthearted and it will remain more memorable to me than even my own more boring topic I wrote about for the same assignment.
Comprehending Another’s Passion
There is a balance to strike in audience consideration. Writing for only yourself may lead to more inspiring and meaningful work, however it also has a chance of completely losing your reader when they are unable to follow.
“…[on gathering feedback] show a draft to some people who are similar to your intended audience and find out whether they can follow it. Social psychologists have found that we are overconfident, sometimes to the point of delusion, about our ability to infer what other people think, even the people who are closest to us. Only when we ask those people do we discover that what’s obvious to us isn’t obvious to them.” Steven Pinker, “The Source of Bad Writing”
My lessons learned this week are to find joy in writing with passion, following values while practicing active inclusion, and ensuring writing is clear enough for others to understand. These ingredients will better my works by following my joy while being considerate of readers of all kinds.