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Ann Voskamp’s 3 Secrets to Writing with Irresistible Style

by Jonathan Merritt

Ever sit to write but the words feel flat and the style feels indistinguishable?

You’re not alone. I do too.

Every writer must take time to develop a unique writing style that will set them apart from others like them.

Which is why I decided to ask one of the most unique writers I know to share her secrets to writing with flare.

When I read Ann Voskamp’s writing, I have to remind myself to breathe.

When I read One Thousand Gifts, my tears drenched the pages. I called friends and family members to read it aloud to them, pausing to wipe my cheeks on each call.

Ann’s work is always chock full of handpicked words and extraordinary turns of phrase woven together by a lyrical reading rhythm. These elements in her writing style have set her apart and helped make Ann a New York Times bestseller.

So I asked Ann to dish on the biggest secret to her uniqueness. As always, she gave me more than I asked for.

Here are her 3 secrets to writing with irresistible style:

When writers are talking about deep subjects like theology and faith, we often stay cerebral. We focus on the idea. But I take a different approach.

A reader doesn’t remember anything unless it comes to them within an envelope of emotion. So you have to have a feeling around a big idea for you to remember the idea.

We need to notice when we want to stay cerebral. If writers can go ahead and wrap those big ideas in an envelope of emotion, I think they lodge within our readers differently.

As I’m writing, I want there always to be feeling. I want your mind engaged with your heart. That, I guess, is the first point.

The second point is a little more spiritual. I think it actually helps writers to look at scripture, especially the Old Testament. The prophets were all poets, which seems sort of strange in contemporary culture. But it is so powerful because of its form.

If language has a lyricism to it, then it slows us down. It causes us to engage the text differently, to think differently, to process at a deeper level. So you don’t have to be a poet to write poetically.

The third point: Writers must remember that beauty is irresistible. So if we can make our writing not just smart, but beautiful, it will attract readers. And if we’re writing about faith, I think it also draws people to the ultimate beauty, which I believe is Christ.

Writers must remember that beauty is irresistible. - @AnnVoskamp Click To Tweet

So here’s my three points:

1) Emotion helps us to remember ideas
2) Prophetic language is always poetic language, and it causes us to engage the text differently
3) We need to speak our truth beautifully.

If you do these three things, you will startle the reader and astonish the reader in such a way that they remember at a level they don’t when text stays flat and didactic.

I’m grateful for Ann, her stunning prose, and her exceptional writing tricks. For even more writing tips, sign up for our FREE 3-part mini course designed to help you start writing, sustain your writing, and share your writing.

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