Slaying Writer Dragons: Epic Skill #2, Emotional Prowess

Slaying Writer Dragons: Epic Skill #2, Emotional Prowess Welcome back, you epic writers, you. For the last two weeks, we’ve been talking about why it’s necessary to make every project into a big bad dragon you have to fight, and what you can do to make yourself better at fighting said dragon.

This week’s lesson: How to kick some emotional butt.

Put the Freud down. I said, PUT THE FREUD DOWN. We have other things for you to put your attention toward. And they are way more fun than figuring out your relationship with your mother.

Instead, you’re going to figure out your relationship with someone else’s mother.

That seemed way less creepy in my head. Allow me to explain:

The Power of Emotion in Writing

Whenever you write, you’re appealing to someone’s emotions. This is absolutely the only way you will ever sell anything with your writing, ever. Emotional appeal is why we want things. “Wanting” is an emotional impulse. We cannot deny it.

The trick to using emotion in writing is not to make the writing itself emotional. Very few people want to buy from someone weeping all over their website. This does not inspire confidence, and only in rare occasions does it inspire people to pity and hire you.

The key is making the person reading your writing feel emotion. Which is why you really, really need to learn how to flex your emotional muscles if you want to get your just rewards for your next writing project.

Creating an Emotional Response

As human beings, we have emotional reactions to all kinds of things. Some of the very common ones that trigger emotion are family, love, security, success, power, excitement, sex, and glory. It’s tempting to throw “money” into this category, but the truth is that we don’t actually have a huge emotional attachment to money.

We have a huge emotional attachment to all the things money can get us.

And this is where many writers go wrong.

“Buy this product”, they write. “You’ll make tons of money! ”

Okay, cool. Tons of money is cool. But make me want tons of money. Make me want to drop everything I’m doing right now to get it. To do that, you need to appeal to something deeper in me. Something like…

“You’ll make tons of money – which means you’ll never have to wake up before noon again. ”

I love it. I’m there. I want to never wake up before noon. Ever. Again. Hell, it’s not even noon right now, and I wish I wasn’t awake. If your product can let me go back to bed, I am SOLD. I have an emotional attachment to my bed. And you just tugged at my little heartstrings.

Strengthening Your Emotional Muscles

All right, now you know why you need to use emotional writing. But how do you figure out how to appeal to your reader’s emotional responses?

After all, we all have strong emotions about various things. You may not like sleeping in as much as I do, for example. That emotional call won’t affect you as strongly. So how can you figure out which emotions your audience responds to?

This is where you learn how to be an emotional mastermind.

Go talk to people. This is very important. Talk to lots of different kinds of people, but if you have a niche market with a very common demographic, spend a lot of time talking to those people in particular.

Find out about those people, what they do for fun, how old their kids are, what they worry about, what they get psyched about, where they’re going on vacation.

The better you know these people, the better you are able to appeal to their emotions.

Take notes, too. Craft big files full of the traits of your target markets. And practice outside of your target market, too, just to keep you on your toes. If you usually write for middle-aged moms, try writing for single male businessmen instead. Go find out what they’re all about. Find out what makes them different from your demographic.

Now test your skills. In a one-on-one conversation, try to convince them of something using what you know about their emotions. Talk about how good it would be for their kids. Talk about how good it would be for their bottom line. Talk about how it’ll help get them to Hawaii.

Practice until you have them dancing to your fiddle whenever you want.

Then use those same skills to make your writing knock every project out of the park. Your clients will be so impressed that they shower you with gold and give you lots of new dragons to fight, for equally huge rewards.

And your coffers will get so very full that you can knock off to Italy for a month to work on your novel, nary a deadline in sight.

See what I did there?

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.