So What?!?

I’ve noticed many of my conferences this week have centered around purpose. I’ve found myself asking again and again and agian, “So why are you writing this? Why is it important?”

Nancie Atwell in her lesson set, Lessons That Change Writers, teaches students to ask: “So what?” when they are writing. I think this sticks with young writers, especially those of the intermediate and secondary variety. It’s edgy enough to have a little attitude to it, but it’s deep enough to get to the heart of why we are writing.

Writing hinges on finding connections in our lives, and then sharing these connections with our readers. If we don’t take the time to ask, “Why is this important? Why am I writing this?” then it doesn’t really matter how much we know about conventions or how strong our craft is. We’ve missed the point.

This question crosses genre and topic and audience. We should always ask: So what?

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