10 Ways to Make Your Words Captivate

By Michael Stelzner

Does the thought of writing give you a sinking feeling? Do you find yourself falling asleep at the keyboard?

What follows are ten unique tips to boost the clarity of your written words.

“Why should I care?” you say.

Because the thrill of writing is achieved when others read your work. Boring words are doomed to digital archives.

Whether you write blogs, ad copy or white papers, these unique methods will help your words grab and maintain the attention of any reader.

Here we go:

  1. Get motivated by reading good writing: This may seem like a no-brainer, but good words are like caffeine for your fingers. Looking for samples? Give this a try.
  2. Write like you speak: If you can’t get it right, talk it out. The fact is that we have no problem gabbing. So speak and record. When you write like you talk, people will listen.
  3. Concept, then refine: Start some unedited free form writing. Get the ideas out of your head. Make them sound better later.
  4. It’s about you: Hey, buddy. Yea you! It’s all about using the word ‘you.’ If you can use this attractive word, you will grab eyeballs.
  5. Address the why: Make sure you actually explain why someone should read. Don’t assume anyone cares. Make the case.
  6. Use word pictures: “The hole was as big as a house.” You get the idea. Place an image in the mind of readers and captivate.
  7. Think like an advertiser: First impressions really matter. Make your headline a show stopper. Capture a few tips here.
  8. Keep it short: Try short sentences. While you are at it, how about short paragraphs too? This helps the reader skate through your piece.
  9. Okay, “Action!”: Add a clear action step to the end of your work. Don’t leave your reader at a dead end wondering what to do next. More on this.
  10. Percolate: Just when you think it is done… Table it. Come back with fresh eyes later and perfect those words even more.

Does this pass the test?

Your action: Let me know what you think about these 10 methods. Your comments keep these fingers creative.


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  • Harley

    Cool Post – Keep up the good work

  • http://www.simplenomics.com Mike Sigers

    Great post !

    I really love #6, as it’s what I use more than anything and what works the best in my day-to-day career.

  • http://www.meryl.net/blog/ Meryl K. Evans

    “Write like you speak,” has always been a biggie for me. I vocalize the writing in my head and it works. I rarely come to a situation when I read something I wrote outloud and it doesn’t sound as good as it did in my head.

    For online writing — keeping it short matters especially short paragraphs. It’s a challenge to keep some sentences short, but it makes a difference.

  • http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Mike;

    I am so captured by people that can say things with word pictures.

    It is a gift.

    Not everyone has it.


  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    Hey Meryl – It seems a lot of folks think writing needs to be long and drown out. I think this is a product of poor education.

    I like to keep it simple.

  • http://davidzinger.wordpress.com/ David Zinger


    You always provide us with such cogent and applicable resources. You are right on the White On!

    I appreciated number 10 on percolate. I write a weekly feature called the Monday Morning Percolator and yet sometimes I get so impatient I just want to hit the publish button. Everytime I let it percolate my brain refreshes, my eyes have a new lightness as they scan the page, and my prose always improves.

    Thank you for being such a helpful resource person.


  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    David – You made my morning. :)

    Number 10 is the hardest for me too.

    I had to learn to let it sit.

    As they say, “It ain’t done ’til its done.”

    It’s like baking a cake. If you take it out of the oven too early it will go flat.

    Thanks for stopping in.


  • http://www.marcom-writer-blog.com Dianna Huff

    I would say, “Write the way others talk.” One reason I don’t own an iPod is because I don’t want to tune out the world. I love going to the gym and sitting around waiting for class to start. I listen to all the conversations going on around me — that is how I hear about new trends, new Websites, and how people live.

    I also read blogs that aren’t marketing and business related. It’s where I find some of the best writing that truly captures how we talk.

  • http://www.bergman.com Olle Bergman

    Here’s a professional Swedish writer waving and jumping happily on the opposite coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Your blog post was one of the best summaries I have ever read on the craft of writing. I will pass it on to the participants of my writing courses!

  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    Dianna – I agree that we need to speak plainly. Good point about not tuning out the rest of the world.

    Olle – Thanks ten times for your great feedback!


  • http://www.transmega.co.uk Graham Stewart

    I have half a long shelf of books on writing. Your ten points accurately and succinctly condenses the information they contain into one easy-to-digest list. I can safely donate those books to Amnesty now and make space on the shelf for some examples of good writing.
    Thank you.

  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    Hi Graham – Glad to have helped clean up your office :) – Mike

  • http://www.geniosity.co.za/musings/ James

    “write like you speak”…

    Easier said than done if you tend to talk in circles. I think well, it’s the production of words out loud (whether written or spoken) that causes problems. :-)

    But I have a New April’s Resolution to learn and improve my writing skills…

  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    James – The take home message for “write like you speak” is to be conversational.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  • http://matsos.blogspot.com lokesh matsos

    you are right,i was listening to you all the time i was reading yourblog,You were speaking than lines that i read

  • http://www.whitepapersource.com Michael Stelzner

    Lokesh – Huh?? – Mike

  • http://www.mikroproje.com green

    Great article, and nice suggestions.

  • http://bollywoodpoint.com/ trisha

    nice article it will help lot.thanks

  • http://iceburns.blogspot.com iceburns

    hope what you have written is not exhaustive but am sure they are the most important among the all other technique….it will be very helpful if you can further improve it….good article..

  • Aggelos Seviros

    My dear friend
    I think you do not know a single thing about writing.
    Try to find your life’s alibi somewhere else.
    Good luck.