My wife and I occasionally have a cooking date. Instead of going to a movie or having dinner out, we spend our date in the kitchen, making a fabulous appetizer, preparing a fancy dessert, or cooking a meal so complicated and work intensive my wife would never cook it for the family on her own. It is fun to work together. I learn the basics of cooking and she gets to be the chef and tell me what to do. Eventually we eat something delicious. Joy all around.
So, while preparing to write this article, I asked her, “How do you cook from the heart?”
She pondered aloud for a bit, trying to define the phrase “from the heart.”
I half expected her to tell me what energized her. Maybe a new recipe with exotic ingredients to make a magnificent dish, the kind we would produce on a cooking date? But no, after some thought she said,
“It’s not what I’m cooking; it’s who I’m cooking for that inspires me.”
Hmm. The object is more important than the subject? It had the ring of truth. The cook’s passion depends on the relationship and love for the eater or in the case of the writer, for the reader.
Passion for Our Readers
I can vouch for the truth of that concept. I am passionate about writing letters to my grandchildren who are away at college. The subjects I write about are things I like and am interested in, but they are not as important as the young people I am writing to. Recently my letters have been full of personal and family news, stories about funny or fascinating things that happened, or bits of “Grandpa’s Advice for Life.” I write these things from the heart, not because they are so exciting or important, but because I am passionate about developing and expanding a relationship with my grandchildren.
Passion for our readers will vastly improve our writing. As speaker and author Anthony Robbins says, “Passion is the genesis of genius.”
We who are writers need to be passionate about connecting with our readers. This means knowing them, having a relationship with them, and loving them enough to put some serious effort into communicating to them. It is relatively simple to know and relate to grandchildren and other family, friends and colleagues, students and clients. But as we connect with the readers we know, we will also connect with a vast number of other readers, people we don’t know personally, but who are much like those we do know.
When we focus our thoughts on our readers, we will ask the Master Communicator, “Please show me what experience or knowledge do I have that they need? What subject makes me come alive that might excite them? What story could I tell that would bring clarity or in some other way improve their lives?”
We ask Him to clarify the answers to these questions because we love our readers and want to connect with them to meet their need.
I prayed this prayer before I started this article because I love you, my fellow Christian writers.
Jack Popjes started writing stories for their missionary newsletters during the decades he and his wife were Bible translators in Brazil. For the past 20 years, he has blogged weekly on missions, church, Christian spirituality, and Bible translation. His current blog is INsights & OUTbursts. He has print published three books and e-published two books of story based articles—all selected from his blogs. His storytelling ability makes him a popular speaker. firstname.lastname@example.org
I like your idea of writing letters to your grandchildren. What a wonderful way to keep that relationship alive and also to pass on some “Grandpa advice”.
Also, i appreciate your suggestion to pray before we write and to write something that excites us and will create that same excitement and encouragement in our readers. Good thoughts!
I hate to just say, “Ditto!” but the same strong points that impressed Pam also impress me. Good to hear from you, Jack. I also love your story of cooking with your wife, because Hank and I are often in the kitchen together, especially when we are cooking a dinner for company. Keep cooking. Keep cooking. And keep praying for your readers.