In his post “Five Reasons You Should Smile More as a Leader,” Michael Hyatt, the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, writes that his intensity when speaking often caused him not to smile. That gave others the impression that he was “ticked off.” He explains that he had to work at remembering to smile. He recognized that smiling:
- Helps others relax.
- Draws people to you.
- Enables you to connect.
- Creates a positive culture.
- Elevates your mood.
I’d like to add that smiling is important not only when speakers speak, but also when writers write.
Let me explain:
Sometimes, writers forget to smile at their audience. I don’t mean smile in the literal sense, as in beam or grin. Instead, let’s define smile as “writing in a way that always lifts people up instead of shutting them down.” This is especially important when writing fiction.
A fiction writer’s job is to entertain. The writer entertains by making readers feel diverse emotions. But sometimes when writers write a story, their own intensity when writing a scene intimidates their readers. Instead of lifting them up, it leaves them feeling down.
Any intensely written scene— a murder, a break up, a love scene, a reunion—should make readers smile. Why? Because that scene is so well crafted that it sinks deep into the reader’s heart. It does what it is supposed to do; it entertains. It makes the reader say: “Wow, that was really great! It made me feel scared (or it made me cry, or laugh, or whatever).”
Think about your own writing. It should
- Help readers relax.
- Draw them into your story.
- Enable them to connect with your characters.
- Leave them feeling entertained.
- Elevate their mood and put a smile on their face.
Michael Hyatt discovered that his goal was to make smiling his “default—an unconscious behavior.” This, too, should be the goal of every writer.
Are you smiling enough at your readers? What can you do to improve?
My memoir, An Issue of Blood–Facing Uterine Cancer with Faith, is now available as an ebook for just $2.99. You can also buy it in paperback through Amazon.com, or your favorite bookseller.
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