Write with Heart, Tin Man

Write with Heart, Tin Man

Write with Heart, Tin ManAll exceptional writers, copywriters, and bloggers all share a quality that distinguishes them from the throngs of mediocre echo-artists: They write with a unique style and authentic voice. They write with heart.

Writing with heart? That’s your big secret? What, do all freelance writers live in fantasy land?

Most of time, yes, but we’re forced kicking and screaming to keep one foot firmly anchored in Mundania – we have bills to pay, after all.

In the real word, our writing takes many forms: Many of us still write stories, but others write blogs, articles, websites, white papers, or ad copy. Most freelance writers do some eclectic combination of all of the above.

Great writers explore subjects that interest them and that they naturally have strong opinions about, so their passion for the topic clearly shines through in every word they write. And when it’s time to get down to business and put words on the page, they can easily avoid writing’s cardinal sin: writing uninspired wishy-washy drivel that slowly sucks their readers’ lives out through their eyeballs.

But even the most menial writing jobs can be rewarding if you practice Scarecrow Zen to get curious about every topic your clients need. Curiosity is the secret to transcending obscurity – but not because it leads to encyclopedic knowledge.

Deep curiosity is the gateway to passion. And passionate writing separates the masters from the tin men.

“But once I had brains, and a heart also; so,
having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart.”

What inspired you to write?

Can you remember?

I used to sit up at night, flashlight in hand, mesmerized by the misfit adventures unlikely heroes: Slaying dragons, solving mysteries, romancing fair maidens, and saving the universe in the process. Nothing was impossible. Not to an eight year old.

Masterful storytellers brought their ideas to life in my mind. Their words were magic; their unique voices spun tales I’d never forget.

I turned page after well-worn page, and it set my imagination on fire.

Writing was my outlet. I could let my wildest dreams out to play. My head was brimming with stories, and I had to share them with anyone and everyone.

I wrote as fast as my pen could move. My words spilled out of me like it was the most natural thing in the world. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and exactly how to say it. I was uninhibited. Fearless. I had a style of my own and my voice was authentic.

I wrote with passion. I wrote with heart. And I knew that what I was writing mattered.

But somewhere along the way, we forget that simple truth.

We grow self-conscious and fearful. We’re taught to hide who we really are, and we embrace our disguises spectacularly.

Too many would-be writers are crippled by their desire to play it safe. They forget why they picked up the pen in the first place, and they let writing become just another rat-race job. Their fire dims; their writing suffers.

They lose their passion. They lose their heart. And they give up.

“And I should not have had my lovely heart,” said the Tin Woodman. “I might have stood and rusted in the forest till the end of the world.”

Finding your Voice:

A Rusted Writer’s Oil Can

Let’s face it; people could get their information anywhere. They choose to get it from you because you deliver insightful ideas in a unique voice. Your voice. You bring a nuance to your writing that no one can duplicate. No one else has your unique combination of experiences, and no one else combines disparate ideas in exactly the same way.

When you’re a writer, your voice is your unique selling point. It’s your connection to clients, readers, and publishing deals. It separates you from the tin men of the world.

Sure, you’ll use a different tone to write a white paper than a short story or a blog post, but all are equally infused with your individual style. That style may me friendly, authoritative, snarky, casual, humorous, serious, or some random combination of Mad-Libs adjectives, but it will be your own.

The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, “Who are you?”

Commit yourself to finding your voice; it will be your greatest strength.

Take off your mask and write with heart.

And when you do, people will listen. Once you’ve hooked their attention, your thoughts and ideas have a powerful influence. You can make people smile. Or cry. Or buy. Or transform their life. Who knows, maybe you’ll spark an idea that changes the world.

Yes, your words have that power: The Fate of Humanity is in your hands!

But only if you can hold your readers’ attention, and you’ll only do that by writing with heart.

*All quotations from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Free Project Gutenberg version available here)

Do Tell…

What inspired you to write? Have you found your voice? Has writing with passion influenced the content of your writing? Share your experience in the comments.
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Published by

Douglas Prater

Douglas Prater is the wordsmith-in-chief at Freedomlance Writer. To get the latest Epic Freelance Writing Tips grab the RSS feed, get your free email updates and follow me on twitter. You'll be glad you did.

6 thoughts on “Write with Heart, Tin Man”

  1. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. As a child I wrote stories to entertain my friends. They were often on a serial basis and each day they would gather round to hear the latest instalment.
    Later on I started a diary which I wrote in every day for about ten years. While it chronicled my teenage years it also honed my writing skills.
    Then at university I discovered that my writing was actually worthwhile. My teachers enjoyed reading it.
    From there it was many years before I discovered an outlet for my writing and I have been a freelance writer ever since.
    Whether it is inspiration or natural skill – I love to write and will continue to do so even if I am the only one who is reading it.

    1. Megan,

      You’re certainly not alone in spending so long to find an outlet for your writing. There are too many discouraging voices in the world who simply don’t understand the writer’s calling. But the fact that you’ve kept up with your passion means you’re farther along than most, and would inevitably discover an outlet for it.

      Your love for writing is your most valuable asset. It means that no matter what you’re writing, no matter how large or small your audience, you’re writing for right reason:

      Your heart is in your words.

      And when you write from that place amazing things are possible.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your experience.


  2. I’m enjoying your theme based writing here Douglas. One can only imagine what you have in store for the great wizard, or Dorothy, or the other characters I can’t currently remember.

    I’ve been studying how you craft your posts. There’s a stylistic flow to them and I like your use of the OZ characters as metaphors for writing.

    Your voice shines through in this one and it certainly is in sync with your other posts.

    What else can I say besides great job man. I look forward to rereading this one and of course, whatever creative work you put out next.

    1. Dave,

      You’ve picked up on one of the most important elements of the Oz series: There are multiple layers of writing lessons embedded beneath the surface. Study the various elements that make these posts work. It’s an important element of what I’m aiming to provide with this site.

      I greatly appreciate your feedback on this one; it means a lot coming from a writer who nails “unique voice”.


  3. Everything we do is better when it’s done with heart. Thanks for the great article! I especially love how you weaved in The Wizard of Oz. That’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Totally brought a smile to my face. :)

  4. I agree with you totally – if we approach all writing projects big and small with beginner’s mind, we’ll find fulfillment. A very delightful way of reminding us that a freelance writer’s job does not have to be tedious. Great job.:-)

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