How to Create a Writing Style That Impacts Your Audience Like A Blaaazing Meteor

I read a lot of stuff, most of which is forgettable. Boring-ass and purely weak – the kind of writing that could make sleeping pills obsolete. But that, once in a while, I come across a site like Nina’s castles in the air, and I’m totally taken hostage by the author’s world !

It’s no surprise that the best writers, speakers and brands write powerful magic – high impact words that captivate, entertain and inspire you to act in THEIR favors.

It goes beyond manipulation – it’s the ability to emotionally hit the nerve of your audience and to bombard it with rounds of pure awesomeness.

The truth is:

Your writing style either shoots air bullets that won’t even scratch the skin of your audience, and or it pierces through them like acid rounds and blows them away in pure “awe”.

I pay a lot of attention on word choice and writing, and I want to make sure that IT has the maximum impact on my audience, both in the off-and online world !

If you want to take your writing and speaking to the NEXT level, and you want to highly IMPACT the people you communicate to, check out my secrets.

These are tips that I learned from other mavericks – magic stuff that makes you sure you shoot 0.44 bullets instead of water drops !

Let’s start with…

Copy writing !

No, not the manipulative writing that makes confused people buy your stuff – I mean copying WRITINGS of people you ADMIRE .

When I started out, my writing was CRAPPY as hell. Grammar wasn’t existent, word choice was at the level of a brain-fried toddler and the overall word flow was as stale as the blood flow of a 90 year old.

I could blame it on English NOT being my first language, but hey, HOW LAME IS THAT. Instead of crying myself into sleep, I did what every Asian already knows if he wants to dominate a market – You COPY the icons in your field until you break your fingers !

For me, that meant copying posts from Seth Godin and Copyblogger, EVERY SINGLE DAY, for about a YEAR.  I still sucked at the beginning, but my inner fire was burning bright, and I wanted to write a least AS GOOD AS a decent American writer (which isn’t a real challenge).

After months of finger bashing, I got into the hang of it. Of course I wasn’t writing as stellar as Seth Godin (gosh, this guy is twice my age) and my word choices weren’t as slick as Copyblogger’s authors – but I was improving – rapidly.

You now say – but Mars, your writing is still so terrible it makes blind kids cry, but I say “it’s WAY better than a year ago !” For someone who almost flunked  the English exams (in writing of course!), I’d say it’s fat ass improvement !

People always say you have to be ORIGINAL, but unless you have been touched by the goddess of creativity, it’s PRETTY DAMN hard. Learn your craft FIRST and make it original LATER. In fact, originality comes from KNOWING the INS and OUTS of your craft !

Look at Japan – 30 years ago this was a rice country. But the Japanese had endless fire inside, and copied thousands of Western electronics and machines. They became so good at copying, that they started seeing MISTAKES in the products. Eventually, they build their own products from the “copied” knowledge and went for world domination.

COPY the writing styles of people you admire. Every a blog post, or a few paragraphs. It doesn’t have to be MUCH, but you HAVE to do it every day. And after a while, you will be able to infuse your “copied” knowledge into your own style. DO IT !

Use MOTION language and blow some excitement into your audience.

A few years ago, when I heavily considered becoming a movie director, I took a screenwriting course. I sadly forgot most of it, but one writing lesson still haunts my mind – probably because the teacher hammered it into our brains:

Always use ACTIVE words !

I thought about it, and spend the following weeks reading all kinds of award-winning screenplays. And it was true – ALL of them had an ACTIVE writing style !

WHENEVER you are writing a sentence and you want it to give it some OOOMPH, think about MOTION and ACTION. The more active your word choice, the MORE you will excite your reader and the BIGGER the impact you will have on him or her.

Inactive:

I HAVE an INTERESTING life style that includes swimming.

Active:

I LEAD a life where I just dive into the waves of the ocean.

Do you feel the difference ? HELL yeah.

ALWAYS convey movement in your writing.

Ask yourself: Is your sentence stagnant and stale ( I HAVE a business) or is it active and moving ( I’m RUNNING a business). It all boils down to one thing:

Use LESS nouns and MORE verbs.

A noun is a main word like house, fish, hotel, punishment and sugar. Verbs are ACTION words that mean movement: go, read, swim, eat, sleep and dance.

The more VERBS aka ACTION words you use, the more active your writing becomes, which results in more EXCITEMENT and IMPACT for and on your readers !

Do we HAVE an understanding OR can you FOLLOW my words Zwinkerndes Smiley ?

Create your own word choice and infiltrate your reader’s mind.

I luv this method, and I believe it’s the COOLEST way to infiltrate your target’s mind with your brand idea ! Instead of using a boring-ass word choice that you see on THOUSAND other places, you CONSCIOUSLY think about using your OWN word choice. I’m always using “luv” instead of love, because I luv using it this way. I also use word creations a la “sweet-a-licious” (meaning super-awesome), “white magic” (for being good in a clean, fun way) and strong words like “vaporize” and “impact”.

And I’m not the only one – check out Ashley Ambirge’s writing style. If I’m the dynamite, she’s the nuclear reactor of word choice epicness. Just reading through her highly creative blog business ebook makes me sweat in excitement – it’s that WILD and COMPELLING !

My goal is to make my writing style so UNIQUELY me that you would recognize A MILE away. I believe you should do the SAME ! Stop referring to your lame-ass correct word choice you learned in high school – GET CREATIVE and think about the CORE words you can use on an ongoing basis.

Fire high-impact words that pierce through your audience like butter.

I read tons of stuff, sometimes 20+ blogs A DAY. Most of the things I read are forgettable, because the content creator goes for weak words that don’t even scratch the surface of my interest. The author is playing it safe, and goes for low-impact phrases that reek of insecurity:

I think you should do it this way…

Maybe it can be done like this…

You should and could…

Meh – only a coward talks like this and that ain’t YOU. Drop words that make you seem like an insecure 16 year old with daddy issues – express your BELIEVE and don’t TONE them down. Naomi Dunford is the queen of using strong words. When I read her brilliant eguide on “How to launch the **** out of your ebook”, I was BOTH struck by her knowledge AND the courage to infuse it into HIGHLY POWERED and STRONG words.

Instead of “I think” – use “ I believe”

I believe this is the right thing to do !

Instead of saying “It’s possible to do it this way” say “ My way of doing it”.

If you get that right, remember to get rid of fillers as well  –  “brain farts” that stretch and weaken your overall message:

I think I have a very compelling idea that could really interest a lot of people.

Did you find the usual suspects ? They are words like:

very, really, a lot of, etc.

Those words don’t add ANYTHING important to the message – the opposite: They weaken it and torture the poor reader to intellectual death. Kill those culprits.

This is better:

I’m crafting an idea that elevates the minds of passion-infused people.

In short:

Hack away weak words. Use strong words that convey your message. Be proud to share your BELIEF !

A picture is worth a TRILLION words

The best speakers and writers in the WORLD use imagery language – their writings take us to fantastic places and inspire and entertain us. That’s nothing new, but too many people STILL get it wrong, and I feel like SLAPPNG them in face. If you don’t want to get slapped, and you want to CAPTURE you audience with your crafting, GO FOR VISUALS every goddamn time !

But what does this mean practically ?

It’s ALL about using LESS abstracts and MORE tangible words.

Here’s the difference:

Abstract – hope, suspension, comprehension, theory, abstract, qualification etc.

Those words are ABSTRACT – your brain doesn’t know HOW to picture them. And if your brain can’t visualize them, it shoots those meaningless words straight into oblivion. Your message GETS ignored, which is the kiss of death !

Tangible words – tree, green, sky, explosive, mind-blowing, writing, laughing etc.

Not all of these words are tangible, but all of them are EASY to picture because they are visual. Check out Cori’s Big Girl Branding blog to experience a visual overkill language extravaganza !

So, instead of saying “ The speech interested a lot of people” you could say “The speech blew THEM away like a Tsunami wave”.

Of course this is over the top, but examples always have to be over the top ! No matter what you write or say – ALWAYS go for VISUAL impacts – in your speech, in your copywriting and in your videos. Use metaphors (like the Tsunami wave !) and take your audience to your world of imagination !

What to do NOW

They are probably a TRILLION more ways to impact your audience with compelling speaking and writing, but I found those to be ULTRA-effective !

And I’m curious – what are YOUR ways of compelling writing and speaking ?

Share it with the community in the comments and let’s take our word-forging to the NEXT level !

And please RETWEET and SHARE this post with the people YOU care about it.

  • http://www.everydaybright.com Jen Gresham

    Write your blog posts like you’re a poet. I don’t mean write in iambic pentameter, but looking for chances to include imagery, metaphor/simile, good rhythm, etc can make your posts more readable and memorable. In the poetry world, when I would give readings, I would shoot for poems that made people do that little gasp at the end of the poem. I still try to do that with blog posts.

    Congrats on all your progress, Mars!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Jen,

      that’s actually a beautiful way to look at your writing – treating it a like a poem and unleashing your magic.
      I try NOT to structure it too much – my main focus goes to word choice and clarity and OOOMPH factor !
      But I can definitely see your point !
      Thanx for sharing that tip – I will use that the next time I craft my “artwork”.

    • http://www.aworldofinspiration.com Matt Bailey

      Yes I like this as well. In a Research Methodology Management class I had in university (YAWN) we had to complete a huge portfolio of assignments and one of them was going to an unfamiliar place and writing an observation report. I did mine in a coffee shop I had never been to in a trendy area. When I got my report back, she asked me what I was doing in a Management course. She said I wrote it very poetic and I should be in Arts. Now I blog….Hmmmm

  • http://twitter.com/TheChaseNight Chase Night

    I think everyone who writes anything should take a screenwriting course! It is such an unappreciated art form because only film nerds take the time to read published screenplays. I, too, was intent on being a director for most of my life until I realized that I really can’t stand most serious acting types, lol.

    Three act structure. Action words. Brevity. Only showing what you can see, not spelling out characters’ emotions. White space. Those are all things any blogger or author can benefit from.

    I think Twitter can also be a really useful tool if you aren’t lazy. Some people just shorten everything and throw in numbers for letters, but if you don’t want to annoy people you have to learn to speak clearly and briefly. It really shows you how unnecessary most of the words we use really are. No times for ohs and wells and verys. Yeah, big words sound smart but can you find a punchier little word instead? I tend to be too wordy, so it helps me downsize. Point in case: I just deleted the word “really” from that last sentence!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, awesome Chase,

      I actually remember that from our session – agreed, a screenwriting course should be mandatory !

      The Twitter method is rock solid as well – the less space you have, the more you have to think about your word choice !
      I’m a sucker for big words, but going for punchier words instead is a cool way of thinking. I will implement it with my next one !

  • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

    I love this Mars….you are coming along a very long way as a writer and I am agreeing with just about everything. Frankly, I don’t like making up words….I think it’s fine for fun and play but I tend to not make up words but I definitely like choosing from the thousands of neglected words in English rather than the same old stuff…Active/Passive tense is huge and being able to plant that seed of sharp imagination on your readers’ minds is key. Fantastic post! I am super impressed ….! Keep It Up!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      thanx you very much, Farnoosh,

      I’m practicing my writing skills until my fingers break off – lol, seriously ;)
      You don’t have to make up words if that’s not your thing – it works for me – AND it feels right, and THAT’s why I do it !
      I know you are rocking it anyways, and your writing style is alive and authentic – which is the most important thing.
      Keep shining, Farnoosh !

  • Anonymous

    I like to say “FUCK” a lot, because it is active, it is a verb, and it creates a picture ;-)
    Great post Mars, retweeted this one!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Niels – well, fuck is always an option, but it always makes me think of the same thing ;)

  • http://lynnfang.com Lynn Fang

    You’ve got great points, Mars, as always! Your writing has definitely come a long way, and each post resonates with magic. I’m going to go collect some more verbs now. Thank you.

    “How to launch the **** out of your ebook” is kind of a shocker title, and I tend to be leery around those. Strong and highly powered words are really great, but at the same time, it’s a fine line between real insight and hot air, so I expect real substance when I read those statements. If I don’t get real insightful substance, the trust is gone. I love your work and Ashley’s because they are a perfect fusion of real amazing insight and brash, unique delivery. Going over the top with delivery can be like sensory overload for me. But maybe it’s just not my flavor. Just my two cents :)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Lynn,
      I appreciate your take on this – I agree, you HAVE to back up your brash writing, and the ebook from Naomi DOES deliver both in terms of STYLE and content.
      It’s a fine line, but I believe that the world needs MORE edgy and fired-up writing than those boring-ass instruction-like articles. Major value + kick-ass writing style = insane impact.

  • http://www.thepracticalnerd.com Tom Meitner

    I like to read mine out loud to myself – it’s not so much for proper language, but it’s to make sure that I know it sounds like it makes sense. Plus, if I am boring myself while reading it out loud, then I obviously have some work to do! Writing in a more conversational tone is a great way to break the academic slant you might have in your writing voice.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Tom, reading it out loud is actually a GREAT way – I read about it once but sadly forget it. I believe it also ensures your writing FLOWS smoothly.

      Thanx for bringing it up again !

  • http://www.ryanrenfrew.com Ryan Renfrew

    Mars Mars Mars,

    This truely is a magnificent marriage of word and visulaisation. As I close my eyes I vividly see your succintly powerful words come to life in the theatre of my mind. Seriously, you have the precious talent of infiltrating the readers mind and dance with their thoughts. Hats off to you sir.

    Up untill now I thought my writing style was fairly entertaining. But in retrospect it’s not. Thanks for the preverbial kick up the keester!!

    bLAZE yOUR tRAIL

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Ryan, wow, you get FIRST place for most awesome compliment for this day, lol.
      It’s always GOOD to take your writing to the NEXT level, because progress and improvement is EVERYTHING !

  • Black Seo Guy

    Mars I’m the type of person who say what I feel and don’t care how the world looks at it..if you choose to use certain words..then that’s your choose..but whatever you do just keep it 100% you..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Heya Antonio,

      yeah – it’s my take, and doesn’t necessarily work for you !
      You are right – whatever you do you choose – but IT HAS TO COME from the heart !!

  • http://twitter.com/joshuamillburn the minimalists

    For me I agree: I often emulate my favorite fiction author, but thankfully other bloggers don’t so it’s original in the blogging community. One must be careful though, because you must also find your own voice, you must be yourself even if you use other people’s strategies to connect with your audience. At least that’s what I’ve found so far.

    Joshua Millburn
    http://theminimalists.com

  • http://diyblogger.com/ Dino Dogan

    Mars, your writing has the power kill a Geico gecko from 500 yards away with its air bullets, so keep on doing what you do :-)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      wow, that’s quite a visual compliment, Dino.

  • http://www.learnfilmdirecting.com Vera

    “use imagery language” — I’ve seen this advice, but totally forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding!
    I read in some article on ad copywriting that people can be divided by their primary learning style (kinesthetic, audial and visual), hence, to hook as many people as possible, you have to use various adjectives and verbs — to cover tactile, audio and visual feelings.

    Also, as readers, we all know that subtle things (values and attitude that the text is projecting) are as important as the quality of writing.

    As for additional writing advices, http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/ and “On Writing Well” by Zissner are great guides.
    I saw here in comments the advice of reading the text aloud — among others, it’s listed in the Zissner’ book.
    OWL website is a recap of lots of books on writing, hence the scope of themes and techniques covered there is HUGE.

    As for English skills (as in your case, it’s not my first language too :) ), reading English texts carefully (not scanning, I mean) and trying to understand ambiguous (for me) grammar choices in professionally edited texts (like nytimes.com articles) improves my active vocabulary and grammar.

    Good luck with your writing endeavors, Mars!

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    wow wow wow Vera,
    thanx for all the kick-ass tips – muchas gracias for adding so much to the conversation !
    I will check out the resources – reading papers like the NY Times sounds like a pretty sweet idea. Thanx again !

  • http://blog.esimplestudios.com Gabriele Maidecchi

    This is most likely the most impacting crash course on writing I have read in a long time.
    Apart from the fact you mention awesome tips, let me assure you that your writing style indeed *IS* distinct and memorable. I could recognize an article of yours between hundreds of others – and believe me on this, I do read hundreds of articles so it’s easy to say.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, thanx you very much, Gabriele.
      Can you see it ? I’m almost blushing through the screen !

  • Todd

    Well, just took your advice, Mars and rewrote my About page with much more gusto and person-ability. I will refine to add more ooomph and focused on completion vs quality for the moment. Now, at least, I have something with more ka-pow that I can improve over time. Thanks for the push!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      I have read it Todd,
      and I especially like the one on the left side – you know I’m all about brevity when it comes to your story !

  • http://www.thelongestwayhome.com Dave from The Longest Way Home

    This is damn good post. One that many bloggers and writers should read. Just recently I’ve noticed how “same same” my RSS readers subscriptions have become. It seems everyone is writing the same old recycled content these days.

    The worst is when they are strewn with text links, affiliate links and embolden words!!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, some people go overkill with it. Life’s too short for spamming and copying old stuff.

  • http://www.webuildyourblog.com Andrew @ Blogging Guide

    Great post and great advice! I will definitely try your suggestions, using active words and using verbs more often. You have clearly pointed to us the difference, thanks a lot.

    With my writing, I usually treat it like telling a story. The beginning should be able to captivate or get the interest of the audience, the body should be full of lessons as well as meaning and the ending should be something that can stick to the readers minds.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Andrew,
      since I have started using more verbs, my writing has become much more fluent and sticky. I now always think about crafting moving pieces.
      The idea of treating your article like a story is a cool idea – I especially like the 3 act structure. Thanx for the tip, I believe it’s going to make my writing much more structured.

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    MMm, Matt, things to ponder on !

  • http://www.danlew.com Dan Lew

    Hey, I think its important to have your own unique style of writing, stand out from the others.

    Daniel son – wax on, wax off!

  • http://www.CashAndJoy.com Catherine Caine

    Stories. I ADORE stories, they add a structure and flow and purpose to your articles just by existing.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      yes, and you are the perfect example for that :)

  • http://www.enteradulthood.com Diana Antholis

    Luv! Needed this kick in the a$$ :)

  • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

    Hell, in the month and a half since I have been reading your work, I can see how it has gotten better.

    The one thing I can see in your writing, that forces me to elevate mine, is the passion in which you right with. I just envision you having a conversation with someone, and just being so into your idea that nobody gets a word in edgewise.

    In a way, I can see the passion in your eyes when you write.

    And that is why people like myself keep coming back. For inspiration and passion-inducing writing.

    Keep killin it.