Writing for your readers: A lesson from novelist Michael Cunningham

Who are you writing for? Answer this question correctly and you’ve taken a big step toward writing a successful blog post, article or other communication.

When novelist Michael Cunningham asks this question of his students, 90% say they write for themselves. Cunningham thinks they’re missing an important point.

“…writing is not only an exercise in self-expression, it is also, more important, a gift we as writers are trying to give to readers,” says Cunningham in “Found in Translation,” an essay that appeared in The New York Times on Oct. 3, 2010.

Read Cunningham’s op-ed story about Helen to gain a better understanding of why and how your reader matters.

I agree with Cunningham’s assertion that for authors “It had better be apparent, from the opening line, that we’re offering readers something worth their while.”