Writing to Your Reader’s Felt Needs Without Losing Yourself
by Denise Pass
Bracing myself to write a post on a topic that I knew was an important one, I struggled to find a meaningful way to express the pain point because I was not familiar with the particular felt need.
How could I write for the felt needs of others when I didn’t know their pain or even my own felt needs? Writing with the reader’s felt needs in mind without losing ourselves requires authentic consideration as to whether we are the ones to write on specific topics.
Here are three tips to keep you on track without losing your own need to write words that matter and make a difference in the lives of your readers.
- Don’t write for a felt need you haven’t felt yourself.
Sure, you might be intrigued by a topic, but if you don’t feel it, you will likely not write it well enough to meet the felt needs of those you are trying to reach. Their need is more than a topic. Your words minister to their souls more than a writer’s formula for success. In 2 Peter, Peter expressed his motivation for writing his letters to the people of God.
“I am writing to you, beloved … stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder” (2 Peter 3:1, ESV).
Peter knew their pain. He was living them alongside the people. And he wrote to minister to them and point them toward a sincere mind in the pain and persecution they endured.
- Don’t write for just a felt need. Write for real people.
Writing for a felt need feels like fulfilling a writing prompt rather than seeking to fulfill a reader’s desperate need for words from someone who is genuinely empathetic and can relate. We need to feel the words we write like the psalmist who expressed that his writing overflowed from his heart.
“My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe” (Psalm 45:1, ESV).
Walking through similar experiences as our readers gives us the empathy and authority to speak into their pain points. But when we have not experienced the same pain point, the Word of God is able to speak where we can’t.
- Write from God’s Word, which addresses every pain point.
No two pain points are identical, but there are similar themes and principles in our unique pain points that we can all relate to. These felt needs are sometimes only able to be ministered to by the Word of God, which can speak to all felt needs and heal. God’s Word is living, and the Bible is the only book that reads its readers (Hebrews 4:12-13).
When we pray before we write and ask God to guide our writing, He knows what our readers need, even if we don’t fully understand it. Searching His Word for solutions to the root of felt needs, we find a Savior who can speak into any and all pain because He suffered too. No need is hidden from God, as Paul wrote to the church at Philippi.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, ESV).
When we rely on God and His Word for wisdom, we don’t lose ourselves in our writing but learn how to think outside our own little box. We could never meet every felt need, but God can. And He knows what our own souls need too.
All for Jesus,
How do you tap into understanding the felt needs of your readers? And your own felt need?
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