Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Does Your Audience Need to Hear from You?
Some of you may know that this blog used to be a private e-magazine that was delivered to subscribers only. I made the decision to convert my private e-list to an open, public blog back in June of 2012. But I've often thought about some of the articles I wrote for my e-zine subscribers. The messages of those articles are still valid; their information still useful. And so I've been thinking I would like "rerun" some of those articles.

Okay, since we're talking about publishing the proper term is probably "reprint," but I like reruns on TV so why not here? 

I'm thinking in coming months I'm going to rerun some of those old articles, my "Best Of," because I believe they will benefit many people all over again.

If you've been with me since the days of the e-zine, you may remember some of the topics I'm going to rerun, but I'm thinking you most likely don't remember the details. It's been long enough since they ran that I believe you'll enjoy reading them again.

Of course if you've only come on board since the conversion to this blog, these reruns will be new to you so I hope you enjoy them and benefit from them.

While the events and dates in some of these articles maybe several years ago, the core message is timeless. So I sincerely hope you enjoy these re-run articles.

ReRun from the October 2010 Dianne E. Butts About Writing E-zine:

What Does Your Audience Need to Hear from You?

In the last two and a half weeks I've attended two funerals and a banquet. The first funeral was for a wonderful Christian man, co-owner with his wife of an awesome Christian bookstore. I have attended more than one International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) with these two. He died suddenly of a heart problem, the only warning sign: a similar episode two years ago. Then a week later to the day, I attended the second funeral for a lovely woman, full of Christian faith, the mother of a friend I ride motorcycles with in the Christian Motorcyclists Association. She had struggled with cancer for the past two years, since shortly after her husband passed away. For both of these funerals, the churches were full.

My husband and I attended a banquet and other festivities last weekend celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Colorado State Patrol. In its inception in 1935, Colorado State Troopers worked 6-day weeks, 9 hours a day. With no radios, they had systems for someone to leave a light on with a note to signal patrolmen if there was a call they needed to attend to. We've come a long way! (If you don't already know it, my husband has served with the Colorado State Patrol for more than 28 years--not quite since 1935.) About 600 attended the banquet.

At all three of these events, I kept having the same thoughts: There are people in this room who would be helped by what I have to offer. I know things that would help them if they knew them, too. I wish they could hear what I have to say. I wish I knew how to reach them with the information I have. (Tweet that!)

Do you write for the message or the joy?

I've often wondered, are there writers who are writers simply because they love to write? I've heard some writers express that: They wanted to write since they were a small child. They've always wanted to be published. They simply wish to share with others what they have written with joy. 

But there's something in that I wonder about. I guess in my brain it just doesn't compute. Doesn't every writer have a "message" they want to convey, or a "mission" they want to accomplish? (Tweet that!)

Maybe not. Maybe some write just for the love of writing. Perhaps these writers produce for the sole purpose of entertaining. But for me, I can't write without a message in mind. If I don't have a message that's important, and that's meaningful to somebody else besides me, then I don't see the purpose in writing. Maybe that's just me. I don't know. What do you think? (Tweet that!)

If you write simply for the joy of writing, perhaps you can straighten me out. And I surely don't want to leave you out of the conversation. But for writers with a message, don't we have a burning in our soul to express it, to share it? I think this is especially true for the Christian writer. (Tweet that!)  I'm sure there are an infinite number of passionate messages to be conveyed, but for the Christian who believes Jesus is the only way to heaven, we are almost desperate to share the how and why of that.

People would be helped by what I know and need to hear what I have to say.

At that first funeral I was surprised to learn that many people in the family of that Christian bookstore owner are not Christians. Imagine, owning a large bookstore filled with nothing but the message of Jesus Christ and having your family not knowing, accepting, or embracing that message! I know Jesus Christ. And I know that He is the only way to heaven. There were people in church at his funeral who would be helped by what I know, who need to hear what I have to say.

At the second funeral, the family spoke of their own deep Christian faith that they had largely because of the influence of this mother and grandmother. But there were also many people from the community that helped fill that church, and I'm sure many of them do not know Jesus. There were people in that church who would be helped by what I know, who need to hear what I have to say.

At the banquet, the Chief Chaplain gave an invocation in Jesus' name, and one of the three Chiefs of the Colorado State Patrol who spoke (two of them former, retired) spoke of his Christian faith. I know there were many in that room, perhaps hundreds, who do not know Jesus and would be helped by what I know, who need to hear what I have to say.

Reigniting the passion to write.

Attending these three event reignited my passion not only for writing, but for reaching the people who will be helped by what I know. Through writing I can reach people I could never reach in person. I can meet them in the privacy of their homes and lives, and we can talk. We can have a conversation about the things I know that would help them, the things I have to say that they need to hear. We can talk about Jesus and why I believe. We can talk about where He is in the hard times, and why He seems so silent. I can tell them how I know beyond doubt that He is there and He is real. I can tell them that He knows their names and He loves them, that He cares about what they're going through and that He will help them through it if they'll let Him.

I don't care if you're writing the latest, greatest edition of Christian apologetics or a romance novel. Don't you have a message? Even in a romance, isn't it a message of hope? That we can find love? Maybe you're writing a magazine article that will help someone eat better to live healthier. Or a humor column that will inspire or reach someone with a reason to smile on a bad day. It's all important. So I'm back to my question: Is there ever a writer who doesn't have a message he or she is passionate to convey? Maybe, but I'm hard-pressed to think of one. (Tweet that!)

Questions to ponder.

So as you write this month, and the rest of this year, here are some questions you might ponder:
  • What is the message that I really want to convey?* Or what message is at the root of all that I write?*
  • Who are the people who need to know or to hear my message? Look for them in real life, wherever you go where other people are around. Also, think of those whom you will never see or meet but who might read what you write.
  • What do I know that they need to know?* What have I learned, or what information do I have, that would help them?
  • How can I reach them? What can I write that might get to some of them with the help, knowledge, or encouragement that they need and that I have to offer?
All of this is summed up in the questions, "What does your audience need to hear from you?"

*This root message that you're passionate about sharing and that comes through in everything you write about is your "brand." Put it into words if you can. Or for the rest of this year, work on putting it into words. When you have it nailed down, print it in large font and pin it up on your wall. (It can be subject to editing.)

The group of people you see and imagine who need to hear what you have to say, or who need to know what you know, this is your audience. Write for them. Reach out to them. Work to reach them with your words. You will make a difference in their lives. (Tweet that!)  And isn't that really why we write?

~ * * * ~

I hope you enjoyed that rerun from 2010. I've recently started a new private e-mailing list, but this one is about my person news, including what I'm writing, which of my products are going on sale, where I'll be appearing or teaching...that sort of thing. So if you're interested in hearing about these things, please sign up for my new e-mailing list using the box at the top on the right. Thanks!

Can't see the form? Only see the heading? I know! Sometimes it's there; sometimes it's not for me too. I'm still trying to figure that out. (I think it has to do with the popup overriding any other signup form?) I've also put the signup form on the "Blog Contents" page, so please try clicking on that tab at the top and see if you can see it there. (Again, sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't. <sigh> I don't know why.)

If nothing else, there is a signup form that is always visible on my other blog. Look for it in the upper right-hand corner of Bible Prophecies Fulfilled. Yes, this is the same e-newsletter. Thanks for your perseverance. That's a sign of a real writer.