Chere and I were trying to get to know one another a bit while simultaneously corralling our young children.
We passed out quarters so the kids could ride the little ridey machines at the mall, hopefully occupying them long enough for us to talk. We both laughed hard at the measures we had to take simply to have a few minutes of adult conversation!
I thought, This is my kind of girl. She’s just like me. I bet we could be friends.
Isn’t that the best feeling when you meet someone, and you feel that connection of loving acceptance and understanding?
That’s the same connection I want to feel when I read a book.
When I read, I don’t want to be preached at, like the blows of a hammer coming down on me. I don’t want to be condemned, like a stern preacher pointing his finger at me.
I want to feel accepted and understood, just like I did with my new friend.
Just like connecting with Chere made me feel like I wanted to get to know her more, readers who feel a sense of connection with us as writers will want to keep reading to see what we have to say.
They think, This writer has been there, has walked through the same thing I’m walking through.
And then they think, What else does this writer have to say?
How can we deliver that connection that engages our readers?
Let’s look at one example of a connection between writer and reader. Let’s also identify the writing elements that deliver a connection.
Example of connection from Exhale by Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory
“My little-girl heart held dreams of being on stage as I sang into the hairbrush held in my hand. Although nobody is going to hire me to sing (seriously, don’t do it), I now get hired to stand on a stage to speak. Having a captive audience is the fulfillment of my dearest dreams. (Wink! Wink!)
“What dreams for the future have you held in your heart? Like my dream to be a pop star, your dream might not come true in its original form, but I’m a huge believer that our dreams, the deepest desires of our hearts, give us an indication of God’s calling” (p. 148).
Elements that create a connection with the reader:
- Amy shares openly about her own dreams.
- She takes herself lightly with some humor added.
- She addresses the reader with questions, making the reader feel included, not talked “at.”
Take a look at your writing. Do you find evidence of connecting with your reader? We’ll look next week at some other ways to establish a connection.
Connecting with attendees at our speaking engagements is also crucial. Amy Carroll has written a resource full of ideas for establishing a connection found in her eguide, Creating a Message that Connects: Eguide Bundle, for only $14.97. Every time I read this eguide, I think how much value is packed into this resource at such an affordable price! Also, while written for speakers, many of the principles can be transferred to writing.