October 15

Discover how to create powerful writing


    You want your writing to be compelling, transformative, life-changing—heck!—world-changing. But…how in the world do you create powerful writing?

    Let's back up, just a second. “Writing” is such a nebulous word.

    Running, we know what that is—one leg in front of another, really fast.

    But writing? Well, it’s… you know… putting letters together to make words…and words together to make sentences… and then it all comes together into a compelling story! And it changes the world, too—don’t forget that part.

    Writing can mean anything. You can write children’s rhyming nonsense, like Dr. Seuss, or political speeches for presidents, and we call all of it writing.

    What makes one form of writing different than another? The purpose.

    I would suggest that the purpose of Dr. Seuss’ writings was to be playful as they were read aloud and to ignite the imagination. His purpose would have influenced everything about his writing, from the types of words he chose (or made up) to the length of his stories.

    Equally true, the purpose of a nonfiction book that speaks to a very narrow audience about astrophysics would likely lead to a more serious tone, long sentences, and analogies that help the reader understand complex concepts.

    Two drastically different purposes lead to two drastically different types of writing. Both are powerful, in their own, unique way.

    The power in the writing comes from knowing the purpose of the writing.

    So, take a minute to think about how the purpose of your writing will affect everything about how you write—the types of words you choose, the length and style of your sentences, whether or not you include jokes or sad stories.

    I would suggest that every writer has a main purpose and that, within that main purpose, every piece has a more specific purpose. You, as a writer, have a broad mission statement, and each piece that you write has a mini mission statement.

    Write out the purpose you feel called to serve as a writer. In one or two sentences, tell me how you want to change or impact the world.

    Now, write out the purpose of whatever it is you’re currently writing. In one or two sentences, tell me how your book (or whatever else you’re writing) will transform your reader. Then, tell me:

    What type of vocabulary do you think would be most helpful to that purpose?
    Will the tone be light-hearted, seriously, or something else?
    What level of language will communicate best to your reader (easy or complex)?
    Is there room for humor or nonsensical play or sadness?
    What else do you think would be most useful in your style of writing for this piece, in order to further the purpose you laid out?

    Leave a comment below, and I’ll help you sort through your thoughts about your purpose and style!


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