Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Serving and deserving

on June 25, 2012

So here we are: it’s Day 15 of Jeff Goins 15 Habits of Great Writers series, the final challenge.  I can’t say I’m sorry it’s over as it’s been as wearing and bewildering as it has been constructive and useful, but I can say that I think it’s helped me.  I certainly didn’t expect to be in this position three weeks ago.  I have shared some of my writing with others, and am preparing to do more of that.  I own two e-books about writing and have been looking into which others might be helpful to me (and I hardly ever read non-fiction!)  On that subject, if you’ve been interested in this challenge, the e-book it’s based on is available free today from Amazon and if you didn’t know, so is the reading software that you’d need for your PC, phone or tablet, if you don’t have an e-reader.  I make a point of writing every day and most lovely of all, I’m starting to be more excited about what I’m writing again.

The word for this final day is Serve.  A writer must serve his/her readers.  We begin, as we were told, with writing for ourselves, but we don’t end by doing that.  Instead we must use our words to provide for the readers and meet their needs.  To do this we can

  • Solve problems by understanding the readers’ needs before they do
  • Answer questions by guiding them where they don’t know they need to go
  • Help people by providing favours (apparently these need to be extravagant and outstanding to get us noticed… but perhaps I could start smaller?!)

I can’t help thinking a lot of this is geared more towards non-fiction and journalistic pieces, and I do intend to bear this in mind for my blogposts in future.  Like many of the habits, once you’ve been told, it seems obvious – you’ll help and appeal to more people if you’re providing for their needs.   However, I’m not very sure how this applies exactly to romantic fiction – I assume the reader’s need there would be escapism and a happy ending.  That’s what I usually need, anyway.  A useful tip in Love Writing is to become a very good listener and, when in conversation with a group of friends, to suppress the urge to share the hilarious anecdote you’re reminded of by the current topic of conversation in favour of absorbing the stories and speech-styles of those around you.  Obviously, this is primarily intended to fuel writing, but I think it would go a long way towards serving a secondary purpose of demonstrating our friends’ interests and therefore what they want to read about.  (I actually tried to do this for a little while when I went out on Friday night, but my friends are too kind and generous and kept asking me questions so as to draw me into the conversation!)

The challenge today is to be generous and serve in at least one of several ways suggested by Jeff.  Most sound a little bit technical and complicated, but I’m going to attempt to give something away in a more low-tech way, by creating a new page to share some of my fiction writing.   I thought if I do that as a start, I might be able to work up to something more extravagant and outstanding in the future!  I’ve not got very much at the moment which is up to sharing but I thought it seemed appropriate to use the short story I wrote at the beginning of the challenge.  So, if you look for the link to My writing at the top of the page, it should take you to my new menu, which at the moment just has the one story.  I hope you enjoy it.

The reason I’ve done this is because I want to feel I’ve worked for the challenges.  For me, the sharing has always been much more difficult than the writing (although the discipline and investment in writing I’ve been learning about is a challenge, too) and I want to feel like I deserve to say I’ve completed the series.  I haven’t done everything to the letter, which is hard for me because I do tend to interpret things very literally, but I’ve responded to each challenge in a way that is helping to stretch and push me, and I’ve noticed I’m not the only one who has re-defined the instructions from time to time!

On that note, I’ve completed the challenge so I get this:

(and I do love a badge!)

I hope this series has been interesting  and you too feel that I deserve to say I’ve completed!

I’ve noticed that over the past few weeks I’ve picked up a lot of extra followers and visitors and I’d like to say hello to you!  I look forward to hearing from everyone – old and new – and learning more about why you visited and what you’ve enjoyed, so I can learn how to serve you too!

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2 responses to “Serving and deserving

  1. Fiona says:

    WELL DONE! Love the badge! 😀 It’s been brilliant reading all your thoughts over the past three weeks. Delighted that you’re going to share more of your work. Can’t wait to read the novel. You’re a writer! xxx

    • northmum says:

      Thank you! Sorry it’s something you’ve already read tonight (although I have changed over 4 words, so maybe your reading experience would be different!!). Looking forward to reading your final post (are you going to share your New Idea? – just replying to you about that but it’s hard to articulate what I want to say).

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