Have you ever read a book or a story… or even a Facebook post that truly moved you? Have you ever written one?
Recently, I wrote a post on Facebook about my sister. It was her birthday and rather than just leave the regular ‘Happy Birthday Sis’ type post, I decided to think a little more deeply about what she meant to me.
I put on some of my writing music (more about this in a minute) and I began to type. I just let the thoughts flow and I captured every one of them onto the page. I didn’t edit, I just let it all come out.
After a few minutes of typing, I decided to read what had come through. Well, I was surprised. It was so heart felt and full of emotion. I started to cry reading it. Wow!
Next, I let my little editor come in and change a few words around and fix up the typos (there are always typos)
And after that (and some more tears and tissues), it was ready for me to press the post button.
Well, within a minute I had over 10 likes and people were starting to comment. People were truly moved by what I had written. They were sending me private messages, sharing their stories with me and thanking me for inspiring them to do the same thing for the people they love.
I have attached the post below so you can read it. (So far it has received over 200 likes and almost 50 comments. I am overwhelmed by the response of this very personal post)
Now, before you think that the only reason I can write like this is because I am a professional copywriter… I have a confession to make. I have been making people cry for years!.
When my grandmother died, I wrote a eulogy/ tribute to her. After it was read at her funeral (I was way too emotional to read it myself), there was not a dry eye in the house. The same thing happened when my grandfather died. My family now knows when it comes to listening to a tribute I have written… they need to get out the tissues because you are going to need them.
It is not something I do on purpose. I mean to say, who wants to intentionally make people cry? All I want to do is leave them with a lasting memory and help them with their grief.
So how do I write so emotionally? … And can you do it too?
I am glad you asked. And yes you can.
Here are my top tips to emotional writing:
- Sit and focus on the one person or thing you want to write about. (Block out all other distractions. It can be hard at first but it is worth it! You are training yourself to be a writer)
- Put on some inspiring tunes. I love music from movie sound tracks. There are some beautiful pieces of music and they are easy to find on YouTube. (You don’t have to watch the video, just close your eyes and picture who/ what you are writing about)Or Watch a video of someone who inspires you. I like to watch Oprah or Ellen as they interview people (Ellen helps me put humour into my writing.) I also like short tear jerking, motivational videos. They really inspire my writing and help me connect with the emotion of the story.
- Set a timer and write in blocks/ chunks of time. I like to use a kitchen timer, so I don’t get distracted by anything on my phone. (For me, distractions cost me money! Lots of money. So stay on task!) I write in 15, 33 or 50 minute time chunks. It depends on what else I have happening.
- Don’t edit your first draft. Nothing will kill your creativity faster than editing as you go. (Be kind to yourself and let it flow!)
- When you edit your work, be firm and supportive. Tell yourself you have done a good job. (Well, it is true! 10- 15 minutes ago, you had nothing on the page! Congratulate yourself.)
- Always save your work as you go. You never want to risk losing even a few words of your work. They may be the ones that inspire people the most.
When you do all this, you will have a piece of writing which will surprise even you. Inspire yourself and you will inspire everyone around you.
Embrace the writer within, turn up the tunes and happy writing.
…Facebook post 25 October 2014
“Today, I sit in gratitude and appreciation for the fragility of life.
Back in 1977, my mother was pregnant with my sister. The pregnancy wasn’t an easy one. There were lots of problems, but my mum and this little baby were determined to make it work. In the early morning, on this day 37 years ago, my mother woke up with a wet feeling in the bed. Thinking her waters had broken, she casually turned on the light. What she saw jolted her awake and terrified her! She was lying in a massive pool of blood. She was rushed to hospital and had emergency surgery to save her and the baby.
Danielle was born safely, but she was not out of danger yet. She was rushed off to the Children’s hospital where she remained for a while. This little baby needed highly specialised surgery to ensure she could survive. Back in 1977, it was so new, that she was one of the first babies to survive the surgery. My sister had to endure more surgeries through out her life to help her stay alive. Each one as painful and invasive as the last. She is a true medical miracle! Her success has ensured other babies had better medical management and treatment.
So this brings me back to my gratitude and appreciation… this sister of mine has grown up to be a remarkable woman. She is my sister, my friend and my inspiration. She fought hard to stay here and I am so glad she did.
She now has her own daughter and she is a great Mum in her own right. I am so proud of her.
Today, I give thanks for the little girl who started life as my sister and celebrate the woman who became my friend. Happy Birthday Danielle.”
The above article featured in the November 2014 edition of the YMagazine.