A lecturer invited to speak about poetry at my old university began his talk by taking off his clothes.
As the astonished students looked on, he shuffled out of everything he was wearing, leant into the microphone and uttered a single sentence: “A poet is always naked before the world”.
I doubt he was ever invited back to speak again, but there was a point to his demonstration that stayed with every student in the room. Writing is a communication of your deepest truths. This honesty is what makes words powerful. All true writers know it.
Writers are always naked, and that depth of exposure is what gives them a genuine voice.
This truth, however, has become obscured in our time. Most people who make their income from writing today are not governed by the same principle. The single most powerful influence on writing today is not the profound human revelations of poetry, but the inflexible constraints of the search algorithm.
When the tech industry created algorithms capable of identifying good writing, they created principles that forced humans to write like machines—and what a machine deems to be good writing can never ring true in the human heart.
I choose to write books to promote inspiring leaders and visionary businesses because a book is the only writing platform that the algorithms can’t touch. The false, impenetrable writing of the digital age has no place in real books about people and the work they do, the kind of books that reveal naked truths and touch readers to the core.
That degree of intimacy is what readers need, and what speaks most about who you as a writer are.
The best advice I can give to marketers seeking to promote their businesses through written content is to measure the effectiveness of their communication through the authenticity of their true voice.
The best advice I can give to writers is not to worry about keeping their clothes on. No matter what form you’re writing in—a blog post, a marketing campaign, or a book—let your vulnerabilities show. The writing always comes from within.