Write Like You Don't Know Who's Reading

The jury is in: Stories don’t change minds, but they do open them.

When we humans sit down with a good book, our brains flood with oxytocin. This miracle molecule is responsible for the feelings of universal love and belonging, enhanced empathy, increased sensitivity to social cues, and bonding with others. It’s triggered in small doses by long, deep hugs and breast feeding, but in large doses by shared orgasms and MDMA.

Pay attention the next time you read a good story or have a good lay for the feeling you get. Hang onto that memory when writing the next book. It can transform both what you say and how you say it. The oxytocin feeling (agape to the Greeks) is not the kind that makes you think, “I’m going to think differently from now on.” but rather, “I can love those who think differently from me.”

Build on that. Agape is a far greater power than persuasion or exclusion. In so much as you read with oxytocin, write with oxytocin. Love all of your potential readers, and help them to experience belonging in your work. Even the ones who it’s not “for.” Not only will you expand your readership, but you’ll also create fans who love you as much as you have shown you can love.