Writing is interesting. On one hand it’s all about the Ideal Reader. You should write directly to him, they say. It’s about the reader, not you.

In copywriting we talk about the Collier Principle, which states we should, “join the conversation already taking place in the reader’s mind.”

We must be aware of what the reader is interested in. What their desires, fears and interests are.

But there’s another principle to remember: the Authenticity Principle. This principle states that if we spend too much time trying to decide what the reader “wants” we risk losing our voice and our writing will feel mechanical and contrived.

So how do we reconcile these two principles? How do we write things that connect with our Ideal Reader and still be authentic?

It’s simple, really. Not easy, but simple.

The solution is to be honest and empathetic.

It’s the tension in being able to resist the temptation to worry about what others think about you, while also loving your reader.

Instead of pandering to your reader, you lead them.

Instead of being politically correct, you learn to disagree in an honorable way.

And the most important part: you learn to speak from a place of deep conviction instead of rehashing what everyone else is saying.

You find your voice. But your voice cannot be heard when it’s overshadowed by fear or pride. It’s found in a the land of humility.

So next time you sit down to write don’t worry about how it will be received and don’t focus solely on “expressing” yourself. Instead write from a placer of love and truth.