Monday, September 01, 2014

Things that resonate ~ My column from Sunday's paper

I envy people like the late Steve Jobs, who was one of the creators of Apple. It was not his wealth, or health that is enviable, but his ability to understand with certainty what would resonate with people. Having this gift would be handy. It’s what made him wealthy.

Jobs realized from the beginning that not everyone is a computer nerd, some folks just want their computers to help them be more creative and productive. They don’t really care about bits and bytes, RAM, silicone, or transistors. They just want to sit down at their computers and work. That idea resonated with a lot of people.

Later when Apple developed the first smartphone, no one even knew they wanted, or needed one. But Jobs knew a device that could play music, take pictures, send texts, check addresses, record messages, and do a thousand other functions would resonate with the public. As it turns out, he was right. 

Steve wasn’t a writer, but I have a feeling if he had been he would have intui-tively known what people wanted to read. 

These thoughts wandered through my mind this past week, because I’ve been in a rut. Everything I’ve written seems as thin as a bony finger. 

While beating myself up, I Googled - where writers go when they're fresh out of ideas. It was good to learn that most writers struggle at times with creative droughts, but it seemed my drought made the Sahara Desert look like a rain-forest. But simply knowing that the condition was only temporary made me feel a little better. It didn’t put any words on the page, but it kept me from jabbing a pencil into my eye.

Last Sunday’s column, generated a ton of feedback on my blog, on Facebook, emails from people across the southeast, and a grunt from my sister. It reso-nated and I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it has something to do with shared experience. When I write about doing something goofy, some readers will smile and say, “I can name that tune in one note,” because they’ve been there. I actually hear that a lot from readers. “You’re writing about me.” Who knew?

The dictionary defines resonate like this -- to have particular meaning or im-portance for someone: to affect or appeal to someone in a personal or emo-tional way.

That makes sense, but it’s much easier said than done. It would be invaluable to know in advance what things will resonate, and what will sit there on the page like a fly on a biscuit.

I talked to one writer at a conference last year. He worked for a large publica-tion and he said that sometimes he struggled with fresh ideas, but when that happened, he just wrote something down.

That was an option for him, but I feel that I’ve built a relationship with the people who take the time to read my column. Simply writing something down just to be done would be like cheating a friend.

Every column might not be an iPhone, but it won’t be because I didn’t try to write something that resonates.


10 comments:

  1. I know what you mean Rick... sometimes I'll write something and it resonates with people.... I never know what will though, that would be a great quality to have ;-)

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  2. As I've told you before, reading your work is like sitting & having coffee with an old friend. Our conversation doesn't have to be deep!!

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  3. Your writing often resonates with me!

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  4. I lost my comment. It went poof, just like my creativity. I wish I could help but I'm having creativity blocks of my own in this busy lifestyle of mine. Good luck.

    JB

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  5. Hey, you found it. (smile) you are always a good read and Thanks. Oh I love the color in the photo, does it fit to say that resonates? (smile big)

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  6. Your writing is great...I always enjoy it! I enjoy the honestly, and I especially enjoy the imagery with all your similes and metaphors. You have your own unique way of telling a story and putting some kick into it. When you don't know what to write, close your eyes, relax, and let the images, the memories of a specific time come into focus. Gently replay that time in your mind's eye like a movie...see yourself, everyone else, and everything else from a new perspective...that of the viewer. When done, open your eyes and start to write your thoughts and/or story. This is called guided imagery. It used to helped my students write,...even those who adamantly told me they couldn't write. They usually ended up writing the longest.

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  7. Your writing doesn't seem thin to me. I wonder why you're dissatisfied with yourself when you make so many people happy.

    Love,
    Janie

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  8. Your sister that grunted; is she the same one who who stuck the broomstick through some-one's bike wheel? If it is, I guess the grunt was high praise. I recall that story sometimes and laugh; now that wasn't thin writing, that was an hilarious story.....

    Ms Soup.

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  9. Yes Steve was an amazing fella, I wish at times I knew what would resonate with people but alas I don't my blog I write for me and if someone reads it that all the better

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  10. Thank you all for your kind words. And yes, Ms. Soup, that is the very same sister. I wrote that story several years ago. I'm flattered you still remember it.
    R

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