Words that Connect

Bridging the Gap with Relatable Language

In the journey of writing and storytelling, connection lies not just in the tales we tell but in the language we choose to tell them. My path as an author has been heavily influenced by phases of challenges and growth experienced throughout my life.  My own experiences have shown me a key idea in writing: people connect best with stories they can relate to. This is especially true for non-fiction books that aim to give advice, inspire people, and reach all kinds of readers.

The Essence of Relatable Language

Great writing connects! It ditches stiff academic language for a voice that feels like the reader’s own. This “social permeability” recognizes both writer and reader are shaped by their backgrounds. In “The Come Up,” I used language that resonated with me at that age. It had to be authentic and engaging for my readers too.

Navigating the Disconnect

Writers who become successful despite challenged beginnings often find disconnect with their original audience. There is also a disconnect with their peers. I’ve found disconnect with my peers who find it difficult to relate to perspectives and language of my earlier stages. This disconnect highlights a critical aspect of writing: the need to remain true to the intended audience’s language and experience, even when it diverges from conventional expectations.

The Role of Grammatical Correctness

Grammatical correctness is often the basis of the debate over language in literature. Clear, coherent writing is  important ,but strictly maintaining formal grammatical rules can alienate readers for whom such language feels inaccessible. The goal is to strike a balance by crafting narratives that are both relatable and readable. This requires using language as a bridge rather than a barrier between the writer’s message and the reader’s world.

Viewing Through the Right Lens

One significant barrier to creating relatable literature is the tendency to view books through our own experiences. This distorts what makes the story connect because our experiences do not always match our reader’s experiences. Writers and reviewers need to see things from the audience’s perspective. The most powerful messages feel familiar and welcoming to the reader.

A Call to Action

Moving forward, the call to action for writers, educators, and literary professionals is clear. We have to stop viewing the casual, relatable register as a compromise of literary quality and change the lens we’re looking through. It would be more effective to view this register with a strategic and heartfelt approach to reach and impact those who might feel overlooked by traditional narratives.

In crafting narratives that seek to guide and inspire, particularly those rooted in personal experience and aimed at audiences facing similar challenges, the choice of language is paramount. Let us write not just to be grammatically correct but to connect, to understand, and to transform lives, one relatable story at a time.



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