The Secret to Creating the Elusive “Emotional Connection” In Writing
March 1, 2013
In: Creative Writing
I'm often asked: What's the best way to make an emotional connection with your writing?
The answer, of course, is obvious: Talk badly about every single one of your neighbors (we can all relate)…and use a pen name.
But I do get asked this question a lot.
And my answer is always the same.
The best way to make an emotional connection with them through your writing…
…is to make an emotional connection with yourself, first.
(Do not go there. *wags finger*)
From experience I know that, particularly in service-oriented businesses, when envisioning their ideal target market? Most people describe someone who is exactly as they are–or once were. (Are you silently nodding your head?)
:: You've got the good-humored tattooed wedding photographers who like to photograph other people who are good-humored and tattooed. (I wrote for them once upon a time. Maybe the most fun clients I've ever worked with.)
:: You've got the vintage-lovin' graphic designer who wants to design for vintage lovin' clients.
:: You've got the formerly overweight/depressed/unhappy life coach who wants to work with other folks who are currently overweight/depressed/unhappy.
:: You've got the writer with a big personality who likes to work with clients who have big personalities.–
And so on.
It's human nature. We like other people who are like us. And we want to work with them, too.
So when you ask most service providers to describe their target market, they usually have no problem doing so–because they were once them.
But ask them to sit down and write to them?
They clam up, freeze, procrastinate by making 14 cups of coffee, and stare at a blank screen.
When all they really need to do?
Is write to themselves.
:: What did you need hear when you were going through that?
:: What did you want to hear when you were looking for that?
:: What would have grabbed your attention?
:: What's funny to you?
:: What's interesting to you?
:: What thing could they have said that would have made you a lifelong fan?
:: What one word speaks volumes to you?
:: What gets under your skin?
:: What delights the hell out of you?
:: And how can you express those things through the written word–without resorting to vodka? (Oh who are we kidding.)–
This is, of course, easier said than done.
And like most writing, it requires much more than putting your fingers to the keyboard and waiting.
It requires work. Effort. Thought.
Which is why 72.493% (ballpark) of making an emotional connection through writing isn't about writing at all.
It's about thinking.
So the next time your (annoyingly nosy) spouse accuses you of sitting around doing nothing all day, you know what you do?
You turn around, calmly smile, let an uncomfortable amount of silence go by, and then suddenly blurt out at the top of your lungs, “Pipe the fuck down! I'm about to make millions!”
At which point they'll be so terrified they immediately leave you alone, or commit you.
Either way, you'll be a better writer for it.