Make an impact with your writing in 2008

Our words make a difference.

Whether you call yourself a writer or ‘just’ someone who happens to write, our words - our e-mails, letters, reports, essays, blog posts, newsletters, articles - they make a difference.

And the great thing is that we get to choose what kind of difference we’re going to make.

We can learn how to make our writing more compelling. How to make a more lasting, more powerful impact.

Writing to make an impact is this month’s theme at Confident Writing. It seemed like a suitable topic for January, at a time when we’re fired up with resolve and intentions. Plus the writing skills we learn in January should stand us in good stead for the rest of the year.

There’s a lot of ground to cover. I’ve jotted down 10 points so far:

  • Use plain, simple language Say what you mean and mean what you say for a more powerful effect
  • Break up your text Short paragraphs, headers and bullet points to create a strong visual impact
  • Edit ruthlessly Manage out the grammar mistakes that’ll distract your readers. Cut excess words and make sure you’re focused on the point
  • Share something of value Content matters - you won’t make an impact if you haven’t got something of interest, or rather, of value to say
  • Value your words Your words make a difference. Breathe in confidence and write when you’ve got something to say. Reserve the right to stay quiet and listen when you don’t.
  • Focus on your positive intention It’ll make it easier for you to overcome your fears, to find the right words, to make a powerful connection with your readers
  • Manage your state If you write when you’re bored, tired or frustrated, guess what? We can tell. Get yourself into a positive state before you start to write (intrigued, amused, curious, inspired..) The words will follow
  • Dig a little deeper If our words make a difference there’s no point just churning out the same old same old. Dig a little deeper - tap into your experience, perspective, passion, voice - it’s what will make your writing stand out from the rest
  • Believe it Trust me. Believe that your words will make a difference. Then the question starts to shift - not just how to craft your words but what difference you’ll choose to make with them…

Is there anything else we should have on this list? Are there particular strategies that you use to make a more powerful impact?

I follow a monthly theme at Confident Writing and this month the focus is on writing to make an impact.

If you’ve got ideas and suggestions you’d like me to cover just leave a comment in the comment box below. And please do let me know if you’d be interested in guest writing a contribution to the conversation. (Just drop me an e-mail if you’re interested - it’s If you want to follow the conversation as it unfolds during January you can subscribe to the feed.

If you want to take action to make an impact with your writing in 2008… check out the writing workshops in Italy that we’re running in Sardinia (October 2008) or if you can’t wait that long, find out how you can work with a writing coach to take your writing skills to the next level

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count

Photo credit: Zappowbang

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6 Responses to “Make an impact with your writing in 2008”

  1. On January 4, 2008 at 10:55 am pelf responded with... #

    Can I echo Lorelle’s words? She says, “Write with passion” and I have found that there is really NO better expression!

    Like you said, people can tell whether we are happy or tired when we blog. So if you write with passion, I am sure that will shine through too! :D

    Moreover, we all like to read positive stuff, rather than blog posts that say “I am tired with my job!” all the time :D

  2. On January 4, 2008 at 5:17 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Pelf, I agree with you about the positive focus. There’s enough negativity around us already - if we change things we need to focus on what’s possible, what can be done. I’m glad you’ve found a passion you can inject into your writing (and campaigning), it’ll provide great rocket-fuel for your motivation :-)

    I have to confess that I find it hard to tap into a sense of writing passion myself - maybe it’s my age, or personality, or Scottish cultural influence, or just that I haven’t found it yet…

    It’s why I prefer to talk about “positive intention” or “purpose” - I think it’s an easier connect for people to make. But perhaps I’m making assumptions about the way people react to “passion” or “purpose” - a question it’ll be interesting to explore here sometime.


    PS Thanks for the stumble!

  3. On January 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm Writing the Cyber Highway responded with... #

    Great theme, Joanna! I think no matter how wonderful a writer is, they can always improve, switch things up, learn something new, and provide a fresh feel to their words.

    I look forward to the posts you’ll bring this month!



    Thanks for the comment at my blog. I’m glad I finally have the comment situation straightened out!

  4. On January 5, 2008 at 11:20 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Michele, what wise words… writers can always:

    “improve, switch things up, learn something new, and provide a fresh feel to their words.”

    A good reminder for the start of the year


  5. On January 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm David Bowman responded with... #

    We’ll add one more item to this list: Use active verbs, which includes finding nouns based on verbs (i.e., nominalizations) and changing them back into verbs. This is such as powerful trick that we added it to our training manual, available on our website.

  6. On January 31, 2008 at 7:42 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi David

    Thanks for sharing that extra tip with us :-)



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