Willpower Won’t Power Emotional Writing

pick that shovelEmotional 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.

Continue reading “Willpower Won’t Power Emotional Writing”

Write with Your Heart, Edit with Your Head

fountainWriting has to flow, like water. Writers thirst.

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.

You Need a Writing Habit

Hey, before we start, I don’t want you to miss this opportunity because today, Friday January 31st 2014 is the last day to register free for Publishing Bones, a support site for writers. Go register at http://publishingbones.com/free-registration.

Willpower will not keep you writing. The most powerful tool to keep you writing when writing gets hard is a habit.

A writing habit is the single most important thing you can do for your writing.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/673861 by Maria Luisa Gutierrez  http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cornnius
habits: they’re where it’s at

Not schedule.

Not support.

Not tools.

Not free time.

Not passion.

Not a contract.


Here are the best books I know which explain why, and tell you how to create habits. Continue reading “You Need a Writing Habit”

Why Headlines Don’t Matter (Except When They Do)

I have a penchant for witty yet meaningless titles, whether they’re blog posts, song titles or book titles. I prefer wit to meaning.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/895100 by Hans Beyhs http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hbeyhsWith 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 copywriting expert out 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.

Continue reading “Why Headlines Don’t Matter (Except When They Do)”