A new way I’ve come to think of writing well: good writing means putting in a piece of your soul.
Before you speed-dial your exorcist to test this statement, know it isn’t literal.
I realized this after writing my article for asexual awareness week. After my new site was launched, I was in a writing slump. I saw writing something personal for this week as a chance to write something meaningful, even if it only had meaning for me. So I started it a week beforehand, and unlike many other pieces, I felt a desire to write and edit it every day.
What separated that piece from all the others? I was putting a piece of my soul into it.
Okay, but What Does That Even Mean?
It is catchy, but does sound like something from a lame self-help book. So what does it mean to put some of your soul into what you write?
After some thought, I narrowed it down to four criteria:
- Intrinsic motivation: You’re writing it for your own reasons, not anyone else’s.
- Importance: It’s a topic that means a lot to you, professionally or personally.
- Principles: What you’re writing stands for large principles in your life, like honesty or justice. The main reason shouldn’t be purely economic, like your career.
- Thought: The topic is something you’ve invested thought and passion in. It’s helped you find insights, research, or new info, even if they’re small.
These were the four biggest factors in why I felt so driven in that article this week. So then the next question is: how can we find more writing ideas that meet these criteria?
The answer is simple, if also a bit cliched: applying these principles to one’s life in general. It doesn’t matter if things are calm or exciting, routine or random. The four principles can apply to it and lead to more inspiration.
Putting a piece of your soul into your writing means living life with more soul overall. Investing in a life that’s meaningful leads to more of that meaning flowing into one’s writing.
Plus you get more happiness. That’s a pretty good side benefit.
Cheers, Max A