How to Write From the Heart: A Simple Guide to Evoking Emotion Within Your Reader
Do you ever finish a piece of writing and feel like maybe it reads a little dull or comes across as a bit lacklustre? Don’t worry, we have all been there. It took me years to perfect my writing style, and to this day I am still constantly learning and finding new ways to make my writing interesting and captivating. When it comes to writing, you never stop discovering striking new words and new ways of expressing your ideas and thoughts. It’s an ongoing process, and if you are new to writing in a professional capacity, then you are going to need to be patient with yourself whilst you fine-tune your writing style and find your flow.
I wrote this article to share some of the ways that I write truly heartfelt and meaningful writing. When you have some of the keys it becomes easier to unlock your creative potential, and I believe that every writer has that potential. What I have discovered when it comes to writing is that there are three key elements to creating moving and inspirational writing and these are to:
- make it relatable to the reader,
- write with purpose
- and capture emotion within your writing.
To me, writing is an art form and the way I see the creative process behind this art form is very similar to what Julia Cameron explains in her very famous and best-selling book The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. She explains “What we are talking about is an induced—or invited—spiritual experience… We undertake certain spiritual exercises to achieve alignment with the creative energy of the universe.”
This is one way of seeing how the creative flow of writing works and this definitely seems to be my experience of it. For me, writing is a very spiritual practice. When I begin a new piece, I often go into a meditative state to gain inspiration and receive insights. It is my belief that what I am doing is tapping into the realm of higher consciousness—a spiritual memory bank, if you like—filled with noble ideas and thoughts. Some might even call this the collective unconscious, a concept coined by Carl Jung.
This, however, is my own experience and do not think that I am asking you to see it in this way too. Think of it in whatever way feels comfortable for you. I only offer my views in the hope that it might help those who are struggling to write imaginatively.
If you find yourself not resonating with these concepts, don’t worry as there are many practical ways you can make your writing engaging and interesting which I will discuss here.
So let’s begin…
1. Make It Personal
This is one of the most crucial steps to achieving heartfelt and exceptional writing. Within the first few lines of your article, you need to establish a connection with your reader. You need to captivate them and let them know that what you are writing about is relatable to them. There are a few ways to do this but one of the best ways is to consider who your reader might be. What do you think their issues could be? What kind of person might they be? Think of a way you can let them know that you have the answers to what they are looking for.
A second way to do this, and of course this entirely depends on the subject matter and online or offline publication that your writing will appear on, is to add some personal information to your writing. This could be a short anecdote, your experience of something or even your views on the matter you are discussing. The truth is that people love reading articles that contain a strong sense of the writer’s personality. What they love even more is reading personal stories, so if you can, it might be worth adding a few personal anecdotes to your writing. Readers tend to connect with personalities rather than anonymous authors.
2. Write About Something That You Are Passionate About
This might be a no-brainer but many writers end up writing about topics that they have no interest in at all for various reasons. This is fine if you are getting paid to write an article for a company that has employed you but if you are starting something like a blog, then you really want to make sure that you have carefully picked your subject matter and that it is something you are really motivated to write about.
If you are writing about something that you are passionate about, your interest and love for this topic will naturally come across to the reader and, in turn, they will most likely come to share that passion for it as well.
3. Write With Purpose
When writing about something that you truly care about, remember that you are also trying to deliver a message. Think about what motivated you to write that article in the first place and let that passion guide you in your writing. What do you want to leave the reader with? Is there something you are trying to inspire them to accomplish? Or perhaps you might be urging them to see a certain matter from a different perspective. Whatever it is hold that vision in mind whilst writing and when you have finished, read over your article to ensure you achieved that goal.
Finish with a succinct conclusion that reiterates the message of your piece. Aim to also finish on a positive note that will leave the reader feeling hopeful about the issues you raised.
4. Try to Capture Emotion in Your Writing
Need some clarification? Try to think about the emotions associated with your subject matter and carefully choose words that match those emotions. So if you are writing about sport, for example, think about the excitement and energy that surrounds sporting events and the passion that supporters have for that sport. Try the best you can to deliver that same energy to your readers by using words that are emotive.
Similarly, if you are writing a piece that has a more sombre and reflective tone to it, you would want to choose words that give a depth to your work. Think about the topic that you are writing about and carefully choose words that match the nature of the subject, message and purpose of your article. A thesaurus is very helpful if you are stuck on choosing just the right words.
When I write, I tend to enter into a meditative state to help me to think about how I want the article to feel. This helps me to think deeply about what I am writing about and the emotions I associate with that topic. So if I am writing about the magical process of inner transformation, I feel into my heart (that is the best way I can put it) and I try to work out what words I can use to capture the beauty and essence of this process. I use my words the same way an artist would use colour to create a work of art and I consider how I can get my reader to value the idea I am discussing in the same way as I do.
Something else that I do that is a little tricky to describe, is that I mentally visualise the concept of which I am writing about. I feel into the energy of what it looks and feels like and I try to use that experience to shape my writing. Sometimes trying to picture something visually, even if it is an elusive concept, can help you to record the emotion associated with it. This might sound a little strange but this seems to work for me and I suppose the thing about creativity is that it can be a bit strange sometimes. But you will find the end justifies the means. Doing this may or may not help you but I thought I would share this in the hope that it might.
5. Do Something to Put Yourself in a Good Mood Before You Write
Whether it is listening to peaceful or uplifting music, doing another creative activity, or going for a walk in nature, do something that will make you feel good. It is very difficult to write with enthusiasm or passion when we are not feeling our best. Our best writing tends to come out of the blue when a happy mood strikes us or when we are a hit by a wave of inspiration. Try to recreate that wave of inspiration before you sit down to write by doing something that motivates you and lifts your mood. You will find that it makes all the difference! I know that my best writing happens when I have done something that really nourishes my soul and makes my heart sing.
Also, when you do experience those moments of fleeting creative vision, be sure to take full advantage of them. These moments are golden for creating masterpieces so don’t let them pass by. If you are unable to write at that moment of inspiration (which frustratingly can be the case sometimes), then try to write down whatever notes you can or try to record ideas on a dictaphone or smartphone. I have often found that I am able to retrace that moment as long as I have written down my ideas somewhere.
My only advice would be to not leave it too long to act on your inspiration. In my experience, you never regain your enthusiasm or motivation for that golden idea if it has been left too long. I find that sitting down to write at the next available moment to be the best solution to this problem.
6. Do Not Force Words
Ever find yourself in the midst of a creative flow but then, out of nowhere, you come to a halt and suddenly you have no idea what to write? It is common for writers to experience this and if you find yourself at this stage don’t force yourself to write something just because you feel you need to write. What I often do is close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. I try to meditate on what I have been writing about but don’t think about it too deeply. Most times the words will come to me and I will be able to pick up where I left off. Sometimes it will take a little bit longer and by the time I have made myself a tea and something to eat, I will know exactly what I want to say.
If you get stressed because you don’t know what to write and you force yourself to just write just anything, it most likely won’t be your best work. You will then probably have to either cut out what you just wrote or change your words completely.
When you get to a point when you are stuck, it may signal that you need a few hours away from the keyboard or pen and paper. Give yourself that break and allow the words to flow again naturally rather than forcing yourself to write. You will always find that your best writing happens when words pour from you.
Imagine a flowing stream and at the end of that stream, there is a babbling brook where the water is cascading down. The stones in the brook are guiding and shaping the water when it runs down and by doing this they are creating a beautiful cascade of tumbling water. Now in this analogy, the water represents creativity and the stones of this brook represent you, the writer. Much like water in a running stream, creativity is not something that can be forced and tamed, it is wild energy and it needs to be guided and worked with to achieve the best and most beautiful results.
As I mentioned before, to me, writing is like an art form. You are gently taking your reader by the hand and asking them to embark on a journey with you. Whilst on this journey, you are asking them to see things the way that you see them, asking them to value what you value and asking them to remember what you have told them. You are delivering a certain message to them and you are hoping that they will take action on what you have said.
Writing from the heart is not difficult when you tap into your creative abilities. All it really takes is pure honest intention and writing about something that you find as moving as your reader will. When you put your heart and soul into a piece of writing, this will be visible to your reader and they won't be able to help but respond to the magic you have put behind your words.