How to make your writing more fun
How do I make finance fascinating? How do I make insurance interesting? And, how do I make donuts delightful to read about when there isn’t an actual box of them here to devour? I get it, writing is tough. And, writing about some topics is definitely harder than others.
With over 10 years of writing experience, I’m confident that even the most boring topics can be written in an intriguing way. Not every subject is going to make your readers laugh or smile. But your copy should keep them entertained and informed at the very least. Here are some writing tricks I use to make even the most difficult topic digestible.
SHOW INTEREST IN WHAT YOU’RE WRITING ABOUT
If you don’t have even the slightest interest in your topic, it will come across loud and clear to your readers. Writing should never be a chore. If you’re a freelance writer like myself, you’re often writing about topics assigned by someone else. If I had it my way, I’d write about coffee and donuts every darn day of the week. But that’s not how my business works. I write about finance, IT, computers, real estate and plenty of other topics that I’m not exactly fangirling about.
As you do your research, find something about your topic that interests you. Even the slightest detail that intrigues you can make the difference between a boring piece of writing and a captivating one. Your enthusiasm will come across in your words, and you’ll likely write at lightning speed. Or, you could just treat your writing like a job and type out one painful word after another. That sounds like a horrible way to lead life as a writer! Instead, adjust your mindset, look at topics from new angles and find something unique about each subject that makes you want to write forever.
USE THE ACTIVE VOICE
Writing in a passive voice is one of the quickest ways to turn off any reader. Readers want to hear about what’s happening now. As an example, which of these sentences sounds better, “Michelle ate the donut,” or, “The donut was eaten by Michelle”? I’ll admit, it’s hard to go wrong when a sentence involves donuts, but the first sentence is active, natural and easier to digest (no pun intended).
If you can avoid it, refrain from being passive. Instead, focus on writing in an active, direct voicewithout the messy words that a passive voice can bring.
TELL YOUR READERS A STORY
You could be writing about the most boring topic on the planet, and the only way to hook readers is going to be through storytelling. (Side note: you can use storytelling for fun topics, too). Telling stories is a perfect way to bring interest to otherwise bland topics. It will engage readers and make your content more relatable. It also shows that there’s a real person – you! – behind that boring topic, and not an encyclopedia.
If the medium and subject matter permit, consider drawing from your personal experience in storytelling. Just ensure it relates to your topic, and that you’re able to transition in and out of the story seamlessly. Otherwise, it will stick out like a sore thumb. And nobody wants that!
PLAY WITH YOUR WORDS
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of alliteration. I mean, who can resist sentences that are structured with sweet, succulent words starting with the same letter? Would you rather hear about the deliciously decadent donut that was dripping in dark chocolate, or the old fashioned plain donut at the bottom of the box? I know; with donuts, it’s still tough to choose. But, playing with alliteration can not only make your sentences more fun to read, it also opens up the doorway to description.
Don’t go overboard on the adjectives you use to describe your nouns, but definitely give it a try. Alliteration has its time and place, along with other playful writing techniques like using clichés. The key is to use them strategically and sparingly. You don’t want to distract the reading from the subject matter by drowning your words in playful writing techniques.
READ YOUR WRITING OUT LOUD
The final test for me is to always read what I wrote out loud. Yes, this sounds ridiculous. And maybe it is. But, reading out loud gives you a chance to hear every word instead of just skimming with your eyes. As you read, take note of what you’re hearing. Imagine yourself as a reader, not the writer. Are you informed by what you hear? Are you entertained? Did you laugh? Smile? Do you want to hear more?
If you answered “no” to all of the above questions, then your writing could use some work. Sorry to be so blunt. But if you’re not the least bit entertained, then you haven’t done your job as a writer. Whether you’re writing a novel, a blog post or even a product description, writers should be able to derive value from your content. It doesn’t necessarily have to make them laugh, but it has to serve a purpose. If you find yourself bored when you read what you wrote, go back and make some revisions.
That’s the beauty of writing in the 21st century; nothing is carved in stone. Write, rewrite and make edits until the copy in front of you serves its intended purpose. Only then will your readers, smile, laugh and/or learn something from what you’ve written. And, only then, have you done your job as a writer. And if so, reward yourself with a donut. I always do.