There is a perpetual discussion in my marriage when it comes to cooking. My husband likes the low and slow method, whereas I am a high heat—can’t wait to eat kind of gal. In fact, I’m in a rush for most tasks in my life, which does not always serve writing deep. Writing deep requires us to slow down.
As I sat down to write this blog, it dawned on me how contradictory I can be between what I say and what I do. I am the first person to say that no one can write a good book in 30 days as some writing programs promise, and I literally start to twitch at the “write a book in a weekend” offers. Yet, my personality type would love to go full throttle and git ’er done. I was always the first to hand in my exams in school and have had to condition myself to keep going back and layering my work to make it richer.
Why Write Deep?
Let’s face it, the publishing industry is starting to bulge at the seams with the advent of self-publishing. Recent numbers show approximately 1 million books being released every year with close to 800,000 of them being self-published. Add that to the roughly 13 million books in print from years gone by and we have a very crowded market.
Writing deep is the antidote to being just like everyone else pumping out a book for the sake of saying they’re a published author on their bio. A superficial book is a quickly slapped together amalgamation of answers I could have Googled on my own. You want to write a book that truly affects the reader, that keeps them up at night, and that they discuss with their friends over coffee.
What do I Mean by Write Deep?
By write deep I mean share the stories that have strong emotions and elicit a response in the reader. Write in a way that brings forward the reader’s intense longings, horrific fears, elated joys, and proudest successes. In his book Profit First, Mike Michalowicz shares a story about his child offering their piggy bank to save the family from financial ruin. That story shows the deeper emotional need for a balanced profit and loss statement. In her book LinkedIn Unlocked, Melonie Dodaro opens with a story about the power of social media in how she found her birth family. I specifically used these two books as examples to show how any topic that appears as superficial, and cut and dry as profits and professional networking, can go deep enough to make the reader keep turning the pages to hear what the author has to say.
Tools for Developing your Depth
The first tool is to allow yourself to be open and vulnerable enough to show your audience that you are a fallible human being with a full range of emotions and experiences. Yes, many of us are writing to establish ourselves as experts in our fields, but again, we need to offer more than an Artificial Intelligence reply to “Hey Google!” Practice going deeper in your stories by writing them by hand to yourself in a diary. Write what you would never put in a book, then sit with it and convince yourself just how much you can include.
Secondly, using metaphor is a great way to take the reader out of the every day and deeper into the meaning of the point you are making without having to expose all the personal details. Here is an exploration of why metaphor is important in both literature and psychology.
Thirdly, if you find yourself writing short like I often do, then write in layers. In your first pass, you can write the actions: this happened and then this happened and then this happened. Then in your second pass, you can write the setting. In your third pass, you can add deeper emotions and metaphor, and anything else you may feel needs beefing up in that final pass.
Finally, my advice to you, as much as it is for me, is to slow down. Take pride in the work you are putting out in the world and be sure it is the best possible book on which you can hang your name.
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