Seems fairly simple. To engage the reader you must be authentic. But the challenge to gain a robust following extends beyond this. You also have to be original.
However, my theory is that originality is a positive side-effect of authenticity.
How Authenticity Fosters Originality
“Sometimes you just gotta be you”
Everyone is familiar with the old saying. What actually happens when one strives for authenticity? If you spend a significant amount of time cultivating a public image to the exclusion of personality traits that are unique, then “being you” is that image. So, the quest for authenticity is an organic one. You have to develop traits over time that are specific to your preferences. Considering this, originality is a natural extension of authenticity in my view.
How does one develop authenticity though? The first obvious step is to reflect on the image you’ve cultivated. Taking away the lens of society, what would you change if you could?
“So now that I’ve relinquished all of these things, what’s next?” Good question. There’s also a conundrum. The quest for authenticity is also a cultural value, and so it’s difficult to view it authentically. This might be a hard thing to get past, but no benefit is gained dwelling on it. Even though it’s a social script, it can initially serve you well. Maybe it’s all those experiences taken together that help create a solid bedrock for authenticity. And that might be more to the point. Engaging the reader relies on writing from experience since you are more likely to create quality in-depth content that way.
Hmm, re-reading that, it’s not clear to me if I said anything insightful. To be honest, I’m not very used to writing in this format.