Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Discover the Take-Home Value of Your Writing

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

How does your writing—idea, message, or story benefit your audience? Why would your reader trade their hard-earned funds to purchase your project? Why would someone invest their limited time to read your writing? 

In other words, what take-home value do you provide?

Types of take-home value writers offer include 
  • Analysis
  • Education
  • Emotion
  • Encouragement
  • Experience
  • Guidance
  • Information
  • Insight
  • Inspiration
  • Instruction
  • Introduction
  • Motivation
  • Opinion
  • Report
  • Transformation
Consumers particularly appreciate entertainment and humor. As standalones or combined with items in the list above, entertainment and humor are perfectly respectable ­– even admirable – take-home values to give your audience. 

Like Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, humor is a disarming delivery vehicle. Dave Barry and Martha Bolton couched plenty of insights about people in laugh-out-loud humor. 

Grand master of the American action adventure novel, Clive Cussler made the New York Times bestseller list more than 20 times writing highly entertaining stories that have been published in 40 languages and in 100 countries. For this fan, besides marveling at the author’s bold and audacious plots, I return to his work for therapeutic recovery when life becomes too real. Similarly, the multibook Hank the Cowdog series, and Winnie the Pooh are trustworthy go-tos featuring beloved and familiar characters, and always a happy and satisfying ending.

Pamela and Bill Farrel consistently encourage readers to build strong marriage relationships anchored on Biblical principles. Linda Evans Shepherd provides a solid blue-print for prayer. June Hunt delivers practical counsel for healthy living. Think of the authors you return to. Why do you like that author’s work? The answer to that question identifies the take-home value that author delivers.

When you pen a project to be viewed and consumed by others, you create an exchange. You expect your audience to read your writing. Your audience expects you will make the experience of reading your work worthwhile. To keep your end of the agreement, clarify the benefit you plan to provide. Purposefully and generously give your audience abundant take-home value.

Tropical island votary and history buff, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Optimistic dream-driver, PeggySue is named for the Buddy Holly song with the great drumbeat. At school author visits, she teaches students the secrets to writing, and speaks at events and conferences. Connect with her at www.PeggySueWells.com, on Facebook at PeggySue Wells, and Twitter @PeggySueWells.


  1. PeggySue,

    What great information for every writer to consider with each piece of writing. When I was Associate Editor at Decision (with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and our circulation was 1.8 million), as editors we used to always discuss the "take-away value" of each article. It is an important concept.

    With Gratitude,

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Terry, I'm always grateful that you take the time to stop by. You were one of the first editors I met at my first writing conference, Write To Publish when both of us were young.

  2. Omgoodness PeggySue - something I need to chew on this morning...!
    Thanks :)

    1. OMGoodness! A favorite saying around my house :) We gotta nail down our unique story or message, who is the audience, and what take-home value we offer. Then we are ready to pen our manuscript.

  3. PeggySue, The best advice I ever got was at a writer's conference, in a one-on-one meeting with a literary agent. He told me that people buy books to meet a need. That motivated me to aim all my writing at meeting needs for others. It's made a huge difference. As always, your advice is so helpful too. Thanks!

    1. So true, Roberta. Each of us scan the bookstore, library, and catalogs searching for what the author has to share that will enhance my life. Writing to meet the needs of others is always a gracious and generous strategy.