A behind-the-scenes look at writing with authority.
I spend a lot of time reading articles online (movie reviews, political blogs, etc.) every day and I always make sure to read the comments that other people post below them. The majority of comments tend to agree with the writer. But a good third of them have the polar opposite view of the topic. To me it’s funny when they disagree, because ultimately what they are saying (especially when their comment is emotionally charged) is that the writer’s opinion is wrong.
In a way they are the treating the writer’s opinion as a fact, by questioning it like it is a fact. Because only a fact can be wrong. An opinion is completely subjective.
And what that points out is the importance of the natural assumption of credibility in a writer. A convincing writer is able to supplant this idea in the reader’s head: “If he’s saying it, it must be true.”
No writer is completely right-on and in-tune all of the time. Even if a writer was, they may just not simply be right-on and in-tune with the exact same perspective as the reader.
Writers must present their information in confidence, in a way that says, “This is unquestionable truth”. When executed correctly, the reader subconsciously puts their trust in the writer, assuming that if the writer says something that seems a little off, it must be the reader that is out of touch and off-sync, not the writer.
I know this is true for the writers that I follow. Even when I read an article from one of my favorites and I don’t thoroughly enjoy it, or it just doesn’t grab me, I still come back the next day or the next week for more. Because despite their shortcomings, they have instilled a sense of reverence in me through their talent. A sense of belonging, even.
That’s my opinion, at least.