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The Writing Process->Lesson 1: The Writer's Mindset

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw writing her column called Sex in The City in the HBO Show Sex in the City.
Image Courtesy of HBO/Everett/ Rex.

I am at a weird point in my blog journey. People have started to ask me about my writing process. Whenever someone asks me, "Rachel, how can I do a blog like you?" or "Rachel, where do you find your article subjects?" I feel like my generic answers are not helpful.

One of my college mentors, Sam, told me how my lack of fear made me a great photographer. It was advantageous that I knew the rule of thirds or photographic composition. But the natural edge was my lack of care of social repercussions. My role was to ask people if I could photograph them for Hillel. My one goal was to get "the shot," the picture that defined the time and place for future generations, and the following year's annual report.

Image depicts me, Sam Friedman and Andrew Max at the 2016 Jewish National Fund Conference in New York City.
Image courtesy of me.

When you start something new, you go into it blind. I didn't know how to act like anyone other than me. So, like eighteen-year-old Rachel, I was fearless. I didn't see the ocean as I learned to swim. I didn't think of all the possibilities this blog could offer. I just knew I was having fun talking with interesting people.

As I continue to write for my blog, I now understand the theater I operate in. I acknowledge the subject's expectations and craft articles reflecting a person, organization, or business's philosophy, brand differentiation, and vision.

When I was in graduate school, I learned that unless the reader knows the article's subject personally, the reader does not have an inherent interest in the piece. So, the writer's objective is simple: I need to put words on the page that make you want to continue reading. Instead of stealing your time, I need to make the words on the screen worthy of you losing the seconds or minutes it takes for you to read something I write.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast reading in a book in the song Belle.
Image courtesy of Disney

With this foundation in mind, the writer needs to know the following before trying to write pretty much anything:

  1. Audience: Who are you writing for? What would they like to know? How can you get your point across in the best fashion?

  2. Purpose: Why are you writing this piece? What value does this have for the reader? Why should someone take the time to read this?

  3. Length: While Charles Dickens was paid by the word, you are not. What is the least amount of words you could use to get your point across?

As I continue this blog, I hope to talk with interesting people and write about exciting ideas. I want to be able to write pieces like this to demystify the process. Unfortunately, the best time to start anything was yesterday. Luckily, you dare to begin today. Take a breath. Don't overthink. Just write.

Princess Diaries (2001) protagonist Mia (Anne Hawthaway) writing in her diary at the end of the film.
Image courtesy of Everett Collection


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! Please reach out if you have any ideas for content, partnerships, and more!

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