The importance of Visually Writing


We live in a graphics age. Television, video games, and even the most popular Facebook and Twitter posts include stunning graphic images. They tell the story and the capture out attention and quite often our emotions.

This element of our culture should change our approach to writing.

We need to be imaginative with the use of verbs and setting and face the point that our readers love pictures! As writers, we need to train ourselves to think in graphic images.

Shortly after taking office in 1981, President Ronald Reagan delivered a nationally televised speech on the economy. He wanted to dramatize what had happened to the buying power of the dollar in previous years. Rather than rambling on through a litany of statistics, he pulled a real dollar out of his pocket and crinkled it before the cameras. Then, he jingled thirty-six cents in coins in his other hand. He then said, “Here’s what it’s worth today.” What a potent and powerful image.

When we sit down to write we need to do the same thing as President Reagan except with words. Rather than rattling on with facts about something or other, could you instead inject a powerful story that makes the same point? Rather than just telling us, would a potent metaphor make the point more memorable? Instead of punctuating your writing with “got,” use active verbs that communicate word pictures.

I’d like to inject one caveat—I’m not talking about “dumbing down” our writing. I’m not talking about simplifying it or making it less factual. What I am saying is make your writing more memorable and more in tune with what your readers are expecting from other entertainment or information outlets. They expect graphics so let’s give them graphics using words and word pictures. Let’s paint the picture instead of just telling them directly.

Remember every device, every game, every television program, and major motion picture are primarily mediums of fleeting snapshot images, not of words. Your challenge is to make your writing every bit as graphic, memorable and imagination provoking.

For a free download of How to Write a Memorable Book Proposal, visit my website.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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