Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tips for Writing with Passion

Many of us have a hard time putting words to paper (or computer) that read with the same passion we feel for the subject. Even worse, we often produce dry and boring papers when offering technical and professional advise. We sigh, resigned to doing the best we can and trudge through the task of writing, or we get so caught up in espousing fact that we forget there is a potential reader that will have to slog through what we produce.

Here are a few things I do when I want to communicate the passion I have for a topic:
  • I take control of my writing environment. I can close my door, lower the lighting, move to a new room or conference space, take my laptop outdoors or to the nearest Panera Bread cafe couch. What is important is that I can relax and be comfortable.
  • I listen to music while I write. For every topic, every passion, there is a mood. I select music to match the mood of what I want to communicate and plug in. Sometimes the music is strong and powerful, or it can be somber and lonely... Hearing the mood of your passion will draw out a better story.
  • I outline my topic with story titles, not topic areas. If I begin my thinking with story ideas the result is so much more compelling to my readers.
  • I try to use little words. A test that has always produced excellent results is to offer what I've written to a high school aged person. If they don't get the gist of what I am offering I have certainly missed the mark.
  • I write first and edit later. Being trapped in edit mode while still trying to get words to paper is death to a good story. Just let it flow! Be a writer first -- then later be the editor.
Writing anything well takes time and practice. I encourage you to spend time practicing at communicating, in writing, the very passion you feel for what you do.