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Writing as Coffee Shop Conversation

All this month Rowan and I are teaming up to provide nonfiction know-how on this essential topic for bloggers and essayists: How to transform your posts from something only you’d want to read into something that will resonate with your audience.

We’re calling it the difference between navel-gazing and emotional connection.

One way to think about this when you’re writing for public consumption is to consider your work a dialogue between you and your readers – the beginning of a conversation. In the golden age of blogging, that conversation might have taken place in your comments section; alas, that doesn’t happen as often now – with the exception, of course, of your loyal fellow yeah writers.

So how do we tell stories that begin conversations? You need to think about how your story would land in real life. Pretend you’re having coffee with a friend. What makes this such a great experience? Probably, you’re exchanging stories. Sharing something that invites your companion to jump in, inspired to share something back. Good writing engenders just that kind of coffee shop give-and-take. That’s what happens with viral essays – people want to share them, adding their own commentary that says, essentially, “me too.”

You’ve probably had coffee with people who only want to talk about themselves, their problems, their feelings, their opinions. Or maybe they’re telling the kinds of stories nobody wants to hear. You know, TMI. Boring stuff. Stories that go nowhere or add nothing. What happens? There’s no room for you to join in, so you end up being talked at for an hour rather than conversing with someone. Don’t be the kind of blogger you wouldn’t want to have coffee with.

I don’t mean by all of this that you should pander to your readers or write solely for reader reaction. That’s a one-way ticket to inauthenticity and will result in the opposite of reader engagement. What I do mean is that you should think of your readers as friends, not therapists or a captive audience, and share in a way that makes space for them too – a way that invites them into the conversation, rather than holding them at arm’s length.

Yeah write super challenge

The yeah write super challenge #3 is now open for early (discounted!) registration! Make sure you fill our your registration form and send in payment before the deadline to be fully admitted to the contest. Don’t forget to sign up for our email blast as well so you don’t miss out on any announcements.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Nonfiction know-how:

connections

This month’s nonfiction know-how is learning the difference between navelgazing and reaching outward. That is, as storytellers we’re at our finest when it’s not about us, it’s about the reader. So when you write an introspective post, think about saying instead of “am I the only one who feels like this,” you should be saying “I feel like this too, you are not alone.” Learn more from Rowan here.

Want more info?

Is this your first time here? Check out Sunday’s post which kicked off the week here at yeah write. Our email subscribers can also join us in the yeah write coffeehouse at its home on Facebook. If you’ve never taken the time to read them, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. The rules are a little different for each of our challenges and we’d hate to have to send back great writing on a technicality.

Did you happen to end up here because you suddenly saw yeah write in your stats? Sometimes members of our community spot excellent writing and they send those posts on over to us. We hope you don’t mind. Take a look around and get to know our community. We’re sure you’ll be happy here.

Have questions you can’t find the answer to by poking around the site? Email us or find us on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll happily help you out.

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How to submit and fully participate in the challenge

Basic yeah write guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.

1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog

Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.

Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

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