What’s Your Point?

Several years ago Harry and I were both members of a writers group.  Our group’s model had the writer read his/her own stuff to the group. We’d listen and make notes. After the reading, the listeners took turns offering feedback.

One writer went on and on about the negatives of society and its leaders–criticism without answers or solutions.

After a couple of folks offered their feedback, Harry looked firmly at the writer and asked, “What’s your point?”

The silent stare of the writer, followed by a shrug, said a lot more than words could have at that point.

The writer never returned to our group.

A couple of years later I placed a call to our local state sales tax folks and that very writer answered the phone. I didn’t recognize his voice and he didn’t recognize mine.

When he asked my name and I responded, he identified himself and mentioned our writers group and Harry’s question to him and said Harry changed his life.

He told me that Harry gave him something to think about and he realized he was writing to vent, to argue, to make people uncomfortable. And that wasn’t a good enough reason, so he quit writing. He said Harry did him a big favor because his life was more full and positive.

Most of us writers can ask ourselves the same question Harry asked.

What’s your point (in writing your novel, in writing your poetry, in writing your memoir, in writing your  self-help, in writing your article, etc.)? If the answer has merit in your perspective, go ahead and write it. If it doesn’t, consider writing something else.

Happy writing!

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1 Response to “What’s Your Point?”


  1. 1 Fay June 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I love this story. What very good advice, not just for writing but for many areas of your life.


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