Role of Emotions in Writing

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Many writers are good at presenting facts. They correlate more data with a great job of writing. If this is your approach, you might be better off writing programming code. As someone who writes both, I can tell you that data moves machines. Emotions move people.

What You Wrote Should Emote

To engage readers, your text should touch a range of emotions that include humor. Include some shock, some heart tugs, intellectual enlightenment, and laughter for people to enjoy your articles.

An introduction should isolate a purpose for reading that resonates with the viewer. Two powerful words help accomplish this: you or we. Can you figure out why? Both insert the reader into the story. I just demonstrated another technique. Did you catch it? The use of questions. They turn a speech into a conversation. The reader becomes an active participant in the exchange of information.

Not That Funny

When injecting stories with humor, it helps if you actually have a sense of humor. This will keep you from beginning each article with knock-knock jokes. Humor does not mean side-splitting ROTF laughter. Your words can evoke a smile or joyful memory. Use humor to punctuate a point that is difficult to accept. Humor requires your reader to change his course of action with a few words that cause him to smile. The contrast of emotion makes a main point stand out.

Some subjects are serious. This site covers issues like bipolar disorder, dysfunctional families, surviving sexual and physical abuse, and many other hard-hitting topics. There may be no room for laughter. Your audience will better receive skillful humor that is commensurate with the subject matter.

Poignant

Are you trying to convince a person to stop physically assaulting women? That’s serious. You can point out all the reasons it is wrong and include charts with statistics. Have you moved him? Not likely. Grab him by the heart, slap his mind, and transport him into a situation where his own view of actions do not benefit him. I call this emotional inversion. Through proper phrasing, you turn someone’s entrenched feelings inside out like this:

“Your treatment of women projects a sense of power and authority over others. That’s the same feeling inmates will have as they take turns on you.”

This is not a funny statement. It is poignant, sobering, and jarring. The rationale of the abuser does not hold up when actions are on the other foot. Now let’s consider a lighter topic.

Simile

Most women love makeup. Some swear they will never use it. But once they get a touch of foundation, concealer, and eyeliner, there is no holding them back. That is exactly the problem. How do you reel women in when things get out of control? In person, you might have to prepare to lose a friend. But in a website article, you are addressing a large audience, so you have more latitude:

“Makeup can hide some serious blemishes but it should not hide who we really are. Don’t go to the extreme of resembling the entertainment for a child’s birthday party.”

Is the point made with a smile? We can follow up with tips on how to keep makeup from becoming the focus of the face. It should enhance natural beauty, not transform us like Lou Ferrigno in his 1977–82 television series.

Those who know me personally, realize my humor is a prominent personality trait. When writing, I dial it back. This blog includes a series of levity articles—humor for serious topics. To readers, it may seem out of character. But it’s a good exercise to test limits.

Practice stirring emotion in your articles. You will improve comprehension and move more viewers to read your stories.

Kevin Williams is a Shopify Partner that has been program­ming data­base systems since 1990 and writing since 2010, before main­tain­ing an e-commerce site in Perl. Along with him, explore the Shopify platform and Liquid programming with marketing and writing tips.

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