The Most Important Thing for a Writer to Know

Here’s a trade secret for writers. People are the most important thing. This may be counter-intuitive, but how well we relate to others is crucial.

It’s not nice to confuse our readers

You’ve probably seen photos of prehistoric cave drawings. How would it be if we couldn’t recognize the image of an animal or a man? If it looked like random lines going every which way, would we know what the artist was trying to depict? Likely not.


And have you sat on a church platform in Zambia as the pastor preached in a language you didn’t understand, and after sweeping his arm in your direction the eyes of the entire congregation turn to look at you? I had no clue how to respond.

Just the same, if our writing doesn’t make sense or appeal to our readers, how can they receive our message? Feel like they’re a part of the story?

Why should they take the time to read it?

Putting our writing “out there” is hard

After reading Writing Fiction for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson, and taking an evening writing course at a nearby community college, I searched for a critique group. It was a horrific step to take, letting a stranger read what I’d written, but over time it did get easier.

We need the feedback. We desperately need the feedback. There’s no other way for us to know our writing is effective if we don’t learn how it’s heard or received by readers.

And readers are important people.

Other people to consider are editors, agents, authors and writers from all genres. I’ve attended writing conferences and joined writing groups – all have helped me on my way.

And here are a couple outstanding blogs I subscribe to.

The Books and Such Literary Agency  website has to be one of the most helpful writer’s resources on the planet.

The Steve Laube Agency blog is also an amazing place to go for encouragement and information.

When my friend from New York came to stay in our country home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, she marveled at the farm animals and wide open spaces. Not at all like the buildings and streets of Manhattan where she lived, she had to keep asking “where’s the people?”

Our writing, folks, is all about the people.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Note: For more on this discussion, check out the post, How to Know if You are a Writer – Matthew 7:24-29