When I was in college, I briefly dated a guy named Robert who had apprenticed under the infamously controversial poet and author of Howl, Allen Ginsburg.
I learned the most important lesson I’ve EVER learned about writing from him. Ginsburg had given Robert feedback on his poetry many times, sharing with him the importance of painting vivid word pictures to spark the reader’s vision and connection.
The way he stated this was, “no ideas, but in things.”
My poetry at that time was full of ideas. And quite short on things.
So when Robert shared this lesson from his mentor with me, it transformed my writing forever.
Things make ideas real.
Things create word pictures in our minds.
We connect with things far more than ideas!
And this concept is not just important when writing poetry. It’s powerful when applied to ANY type of writing.
Things can transform good writing into great writing.
When I’m working on copywriting for clients or my own projects, I remind myself to look for ideas that can be strengthened by things.
Here are a few examples from recent pieces of copy I’ve written…
“Unfortunately, it can be tempting to break your fast too early in the day if your stomach is screaming, ‘Feed me!'”
“When you are stuck in the negative emotions of a downward spiral, perhaps feeling doubt or disappointment that things aren’t changing quickly enough, it can feel like climbing a steep mountain in the dark trying to get out of that mindset and vibration.”
“When your business needs help with more leads, sales, and ROI, would you prefer to work with a poodle-like solution provider or one that’s more like a bulldog?”
So the next time you’re writing poetry, sales copy, an article, a blog post, or pretty much anything with words, ask yourself, “Where can I add in things to paint more powerful word pictures that draw my reader in and create the powerful emotional connection I want?”