Emotional writing connects with readers. But you’re not going to produce it simply by trying harder or longer. You can’t will yourself to an emotional outpouring. I’d like to chat more about ways to increase the amperage in our writing, but I’d like to be sure you understand that “trying harder” isn’t one of them.
Here’s your homework: read any or all of these fine articles on the limitations of willpower, and understand that this is how your brain is wired, not some failure on your part. While these articles are, in general, talking about persistence, problem-solving, and self-control, the principles affect your efforts to produce emotionally evocative prose.
Imagine, though, if you were dying of thirst (you are, you’re a writer) and the person holding the hose kept shutting it off so they could adjust something. Spurt of water; shut it off, adjust. Spurt of water, shut it off, adjust.
You’d strangle ‘em, screaming “Just give me the water!”
That’s what your heart is doing when you write slowly, methodically, with your head. Because you don’t write with your head, you write with your heart. You edit with your head.
No one but you will see your unedited words, so don’t worry about whether they’re perfect.
Because if you worry that they’re perfect, nobody but you will ever see your words, period.
I have a penchant for witty yet meaningless titles, whether they’re blog posts, song titles or book titles. I prefer wit to meaning.
With song titles I don’t think it matters. Let’s forget song titles.
With book titles it matters some; but subtitles cover a multitude of sins.
But blog posts, ah, blog posts. Every copywritingexpertout there will tell you that getting the headline exactly right is more than half the battle; that the wrong headline essentially invalidates your blog.
Here’s when that doesn’t matter and why I ignore it.