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“You’re a real-life Carrie Bradshaw,” a Triangle Writers member said to me at a summer writing workshop I hosted in Raleigh.

I laughed. “Yes, I used to have in my bio: ‘I’m the Carrie Bradshaw of the South.’ I took it out though because I was giving the wrong impression–totally wrong impression.”

It’s the truth.

“But you’re the real thing. I saw Candace Bushnell at a conference in Michigan once and she’s so unattainable. But here you are, living and breathing.”

My bio formerly read:

“I’m the Carrie Bradshaw of the South. Instead of Manolos I wear hiking boots, and I drink sweet tea in lieu of Cosmos.”

Both "Carries" in Paris

Granted there are numerous differences between myself and the fictional character–I don’t smoke and I use my oven for baking pumpkin pies and not for storing sweaters–we have our similarities. We share a love for Paris, write about relationships, can wear a different outfit (or two) every day of the year, explore a variety of hairstyles and use eclectic, bohemian fashion mixed with couture to express our moods.

Although there have been times when I had three different dates in one day–they were just that. Dates. (Sorry, boys! That’s what I mean by the wrong impression.) Those who haven’t seen “Sex and the City” believe — and as the fictional review by the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani relays in Episode 6 of Season 5 — Carrie treats men as if they were “disposable.” Quite the contrary. Carrie was searching for love. She was a single woman living on her own and following her dream. She’s disciplined, in business for herself and earns her living doing what she loves. In Season 6 Carrie tells Charlotte, “I wanted to be a writer, I made myself a writer.”

That’s the impression I wanted to make.

Carrie Bradshaw of the South

Carrie Bradshaw of the South

While Carrie taught “Bright Lights, Date City,” a dating class at the Learning Annex, I sat across from my Writing for Magazines 101 attendee and realized I finally made the impression I wanted to make without even trying.

When writing a novel, screenplay, memoir or poem we know what impression we want to make on our audience. Perhaps we’re trying too hard, stating the obvious or so consumed in our own interpretation we miss the target. We made the reader miserable when we wanted them to experience resilience.

The writerly fix?

  1. Stop trying to tell your audience.
  2. Tell the story.
  3. Your audience will get you.