We’ve all been there. Struggling over a writing project for hours. Battling your lack of inspiration, hoping your creative genius emerges victorious.
Despite your best efforts, it’s still easy for your work to come across as boring. Bland. Uninspired.
But why? If you’re passionate about your topic, it should be easy… right?
How can you grab your reader and get him to care like you do?
Paint a Picture
Your writing can only enchant your readers if your words paint a picture. If they’re so vivid and expressive that the reader is sucked in to your reality. He needs to experience your words and story-telling first hand. He needs to feel it.
Sensory words can help you do just that.
- Why say something is fast when you can say it’s blazing?
- Why call something new when you can call it fresh?
- Why call someone an expert when you can call him a brilliant luminary?
Certain words can have the same meaning but activate different parts of the brain. One recent study looked at how “textural metaphors” make the brain light up differently. For instance, they compared the sentences:
She’s a bit rough around the edges.
She’s a bit impolite.
Metaphors such as “rough” or “slimy” activated the sensory regions of the brain, while words like “bad” and “deceitful” did not.
Neuromarketer Roger Dooley notes that this study didn’t specifically look at whether these words are more persuasive or engaging, but I think we can intuitively agree they are. Sensory words are often:
A) Unusual, causing them to stick out and be remembered, and
B) Emotional, causing us to relate them back to our own experiences.
So when you want your writing to pack a punch, it can be as simple as using a few sensory metaphors. Here’s my personal list of words:
100+ Sensory Words
Bright / Brighten
Freeze / Frozen
Hot / Hottest
Iceberg (tip of the)
Light (as air)
Pepper / Peppered
Snap / Snappy
Weight / Weighty
A Word of Warning
Don’t overdo it. You want your reader to be engaged; too many power words and your writing becomes melodramatic. Not only melodramatic, but exhausting to read.
Just think: a horror movie isn’t scary if the monster crashes through the window every 10 seconds. You need some lulls. You need some anticipation.
Also show restraint when writing your call-to-action. When you want your reader to do something, you have to be clear and direct.
There’s no time for metaphors when you want someone to click “add to cart” and enter their credit card information!
The Final Word
I encourage you to bookmark this page and start sprinkling these sensory words into your copy. It will go a long way in helping you engage your readers.
In fact, it will transform them from readers to active participants. Not only will their brains process your words, but they’ll picture themselves inside your writing.
Do you have any other sensory words to suggest? Leave a comment below!
Feel free to share this on your website. (Just be sure to include a link back to this page!)