This was one of the things I struggled with the most when I began writing, and I still struggle with.

Trust your reader.

I write satire. It’s something I have always been drawn to, so it was a natural fit for me. But writing satire requires a balance between the things you are mocking and what you are trying to say to readers.

One thing that satire requires is humor. And that’s where the trust comes in. I had to learn to trust my reader to “get” my jokes. I need them to see the humor where it should be. My first iterations where to write a joke in, but I always felt the need to add another line that took the joke a little further and sort of explained it. In essence, I was ruining my own humor by taking it too far.

This directly applies to non-fiction writing. You  must trust your readers to understand the main points you are trying to convey. Now, that means you must do you job as a writer to be clear and concise. But that also means you don’t need to beat your reader over the head with your point.

Readers pick up a book because they’re intrigued. And they keep reading because they’re interested. That interest will drive them to pick up what you’re laying down.

But, if you consistently repeat your main points or you point too strongly to them, it is a turn off. Most readers desire to be educated, but no one wants to be preached to. You want to come across as knowledgeable, but not pedantic.

I had a college professor who immigrated to America with his mother when he was a child. They were going through the airport and his mother was confronted by an armed soldier. They got into a confrontation and the soldier struck the woman and knocked her down.

The professor said, as a writer, it was important to him to present the situation clearly and objectively. His intention in writing that scene was to lead the reader right up to the confrontation and then leave them there.

He said this because it’s not our job to tell people what to think. It’s to show them what to think about. We can’t tell anyone who to feel about something. We can present it the way it happened, and let them decide how they feel.

That’s our job, so it’s critical that you are fair and open with your reader. If you’ve done things correctly, they will understand you, and you don’t have to overdo your intent.

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