Nobody wants to put blank, emotionless words on a screen. And nobody wants to read them.
We all want to write with conviction.
So why do we — communicators and poets and artists — lack the confidence in words to express the truth? Why does our writing often seem powerless?
Maybe we're afraid.
Why we write
We write, because we're compelled by a dream, inspired by the Muse to create great art.
To change — that's why we write.
To connect with people's hearts and compel their hands to move. To help the world see through new lenses. To captivate our audience with beauty.
The problem is we stumble over our own feet.
The words that should convey hope and meaning end up holding our writing hostage.
Our words don't inspire change. In fact, they inspire very little.
It's hard to have convictions
Writing with conviction is hard, but essential to making a difference with your words.
And if you want to start, there are certain oft-used phrases you should always avoid. Here are a few:
- “I was thinking about…”
- “Here are my thoughts on…”
- “In my opinion…”
- “The way I see it…”
- “I think…”
Of course you were thinking about it. Of course these are your thoughts. Of course it is your opinion. No need for the small talk. Just get on with the idea.
When you lead with one of these phrases, you rip the conviction right out of your idea.
When you tell me, “I think…” you diminish the impact of everything that follows.
“The way I see it…” makes me think nobody else sees that way.
If you want me to see it the way you see it, just start sharing the truth. Convince me you're right, not because “it's my opinion,” but because you really are right.
How to give your writing more power
It's time that your writing had the potency it deserves.
Start by getting rid of the wimpy phrases. No more frail, weak words.
Instead of saying, “I was thinking about donuts the other day and how wonderful they are…” say, “Donuts are amazing, because of their sugary, fatty goodness.”
Instead of saying “here are my thoughts,” just say what you think.
Eliminate phrases like “I think” or “In my opinion” and just get on with it, already.
By getting rid of these subjective phrases, you change the force of a sentence. The challenge, then, is to use the blank space that follows to prove your point and drive home your idea.
Every reader has an opinion. They're reading your work because they want yours. Or they're waiting to be convinced.
There's no point in telling them what they already know: that this is your opinion. And no need for the self-doubt.
So get on with it already. Take a minute and look through what you've written lately. Anytime you see one of the above phrases, delete it. And replace it with something more powerful, more confident.
And watch as the impact of your writing grows.
Do you write with conviction? What are some other phrases to avoid?
*Photo credit: Phineas H (Creative Commons)