That writing needs to hold some value is not a new concept. Those that write have some basic intuition that what they create needs to have some intrinsic value. Of course, if I want to write a science fiction story, it should entertain and enlighten those who read it. When I write on this blog, I carefully consider what use each post is to you. 700 articles later, I know some of them have been more valuable than others.
And when I consider the importance of value my work has, it’s very clear that it’s more crucial than things like grammar, spelling, style and voice. Those are important, yes, as they’d clearly diminish the usefulness of your work without having them. But, and bear with me here, I can tell you that the articles I’ve written on this site that have endured, have done so because they’ve given the most value to you; the reader. Posts such as “The EASY Way To Move Microsoft Office 2011 License” still have life because they continue to provide value today.
There is the value the world gets from your writing. It may move an important concept forward or fix what we know regarding an idea that was previously covered. But, clearly the value we should think about most is in the readers of our texts. If I write about “X” topic, what will the reader gain from this? Who is this reader anyway? Who is the reader anyway? If all I do is mentally my brain ideas out on the page, is there a reader out there who wants to read it? The process of thinking about the reader has to be the most difficult part of writing (when all you want to do is write).
This book I’ve been labouring over, editing, and re-writing all year has presented me with this thought-challenge often. What are those that read this book going to take from the experience of reading it? Is it meant to inform them about details they could not find elsewhere? Yes. Is it going to entertain them? Yes, I do hope so. Am I out to persuade the reader of a particular viewpoint? Yes also. Who is the reader though? I’ve come to see that reader as someone younger, interested in technology, interested in history and looking for a good story.
It’s my first book, so we’ll see how all this shakes out.