How Compassion Can Not Only Make You a Better Person But a Better Writer

HeartsInitially, I struggled with this powerhouse of a word.

I was apt, for example, to bark at a customer service representative or get teed off if someone cut me off in traffic. But age and children can soften one’s heart.

I developed compassion. This has helped me be a better daughter, friend, mother, partner and a writer.

How does compassion affect your writing?

This has been key in my ability to raise my writing to the next level.

In the nonfiction arena, it’s given me a new perspective. Instead of how best do I write this piece, it’s made me ask, “How do I help this client sell an idea? How do I help this company reach their target audience? What is the best way for me to deliver this organization’s message?”

It’s a simple change that’s had a profound impact on how I write.

In fiction, it’s put me in the shoes of publishers and editors. They want to create unique, meaningful and creative products. They want to show the world the diamond in the rough piece. They want to be as successful as I do.

When I first started writing, I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I didn’t think about the person reading my material. I thought only about myself-how do I not fail? How do I not sound like I’m pretending? How do I hide my insecurities? As you can imagine, this made for weak and self-conscious pieces.

I think about how I’d feel if I receive half-hearted, rude or thoughtless service. I feel ripped off. I feel gipped. I feel like I never want to be a customer here again.

I then think about the hotel that left me a complimentary bottle of water or the restaurant that remembered me and my order from last time. All that extra attention made a difference in my experience.

It’s the same thing about writing.

Can you put yourself in your client’s shoes and then use your words from this perspective? Can you understand their own insecurities and fear? Can you use that information to provide the service and product that you would be grateful to receive?

If you think this way while working on your next project, your fear and insecurity will melt away. All that will be left is your desire to do your best to fill your client’s greatest needs.

*What a Feeling!

{Courtesy of Pinterest. Originally from}

Mediums That Move Me

Last night I was bawling harder than I had been in a long time. Like a traffic accident, I was both glued to the TV screen and fighting to turn away. Indecisive about what I should do next, I finally decided to whip out my nifty remote control and put a pause on it instead.

I was watching one of my favorite, but recently cancelled shows Little People, Big World. When I saw Matt Roloff cry in response to his eldest son leaving the coop, I lost it. The entire hour was a crying fest, one heartbreaking moment after another.

It’s not the first time that I’ve cried while watching TV. Oprah (miss her dearly) used to do it to me almost every weekday. My poor husband tissue ready, has gotten used to it by now.

But it’s definitely not the only medium that moves me. Books do it too. I felt that way when reading Lisa Genova’s Still Alice. Psychologically gripping and yet beautifully heartbreaking, it was a fiction story told in realistic detail of what it’s like having Alzheimer’s disease. I couldn’t put it down.

Emotion + Writing = Good Writing?

All this emo-talk got me thinking about good writing. Good writing whether it’s a novel, a non-fiction book, a copywriting pieces moves you. It touches you in unexpected ways. It’s what I love best about the written word. It’s ability to leap from the page and touch you.

One of my first memories of its power was reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was an old copy of my cousin’s from his cousin. Truthfully, I ended up stealing borrowing it (only to return it twenty years later) because I truly couldn’t part with it. At night, I would bring a piece of chocolate to my room, careful to not let my smudged fingers ruin the page, and take a bite as I read about the chocolate factory. With mouth drooling and senses heightened, I felt like I was a part of the story.

A Tip for Moving Readers (Hopefully to the nearest bookstore.)

That’s how you should write your next piece, post, poem, article, novel. Find a way to be that reader, that character, and write in their perspective. Be the person who’s looking for an affordable way to live luxuriously. Think about her work day. Think about what would make her life easier. Use your words as if they were its own character, moving others, changing their lives in small ways.

That’s what I love most about the written word. Its potential to make substantial changes in a person’s life. As a writer, that’s what we should be conscious of and as a paid writer that’s what we need to take advantage of.

Have you read anything that’s moved you recently? I’m always on the hunt for a good book!

*Oh and in case you’re wondering about the title, it’s an ode to a song I loved in the 80’s. It actually has multiple meanings for me. My cousin and I were dancing to this song when she accidentally kicked me in the face. Unforgettable moment to say the least!