1. Don’t tell your audience what they want to hear; tell them what they NEED to hear, and give them a reason to listen.
2. Speak from personal experience — but don’t make it all about you. Always make it about the person reading.
3. Don’t shy away from “real-world” issues. Fiction is a reflection of reality, and even escapism is going to have hard-hitting truths sprinkled throughout.
4. Don’t just tell people what they should do. Show them how to do it, and why it matters.
5. Give equal attention to both sides of an argument. Ultimately, you still have to leave things up to the reader to decide. Give them all the info, but don’t take away their sense of control.
6. Be empathetic. Don’t judge circumstances you don’t understand, even when you’re trying to argue against someone’s beliefs or change someone’s attitude or behavior.
7. Never talk down to your audience. Be conversational, yet informative, and if applicable, entertaining.
8. Write what you feel. When you’re willing to open up and be vulnerable, your readers feel safe tapping into their own emotions.
9. Don’t hold back. If you feel something needs to be said, say it. Don’t be intentionally rude or offensive, but don’t let the possibility that you might offend three people stop you from writing what’s on your heart.
10. Show that you understand different things work for different people, and that everyone has different preferences and comfort levels.
11. Always leave your audience with something to do or think about. Never answer all their questions. Leave them needing more.
12. Write things that change the way YOU think and behave. If they change you, they’ll probably change other people, too.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.