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Emotions in Writing: Make Your Reader Feel

Even after 30 months of writing content everyday my writing still sorta sucks

The Simmonds Signal

Modern monetization strategies school can’t teach you.

Magnetic writing → Micro brand → micro business


A quick summary:

1) Writing with Emotional Pull (A Guide That Works)

2) Reflection + Paying Attention

I have a confession…

… Even after 30 months of writing content everyday, my writing still (sorta) sucks.

Yesterday, the team and I spent well over an hour writing one hook for an X thread.

We were so proud:

❖ Swapping out words to add emotional pull
❖ Swapping out pain and benefits to agitate the reader
❖ Swapping out opening sentences to grab attention

Bathing our ego’s in the final piece… it was time to go to bed on a high.

Until, a thought popped into my head – let’s see what Dan Koe thinks…

… Within minutes, he shredded the hook to pieces and re-wrote it.

I was crushed.

Hook writing has always been my Achilles Heel.

This poured salt into the wound.

There was still so much distance between my current skills and marketing mastery.

Before Dan’s feedback:

Dan’s feedback and rewrite:

10x better (Dan had used psychology)

This not only hurt my ego, but left me feeling pretty helpless at 1 in the morning with only a jar of peanut butter at hand.

I attempted a rewrite of Dan’s version for 10 minutes, but then gave up.

Trying to drown out my sorrow with Jujutsu Kaisen but my mind kept talking:

❖ “I’m a sh*t marketer.”

❖ “How can I teach people hooks when I can’t even write a good one.”

❖ “I’ve been at this for 2 years and still suck. Maybe I should just give up already.”

Even with a combined following of 100,000+ followers across X, LinkedIn, and IG Threads, I’m not immune to these feelings.

But will I give in to them?

Hell no.

With a simple reframe, the shred was a blessing.

Dan’s rewrite gave me the ammo to analyze where I went wrong.

And improve 10x faster.

That’s the power of a quality feedback loop.

I get to make these mistakes behind the scenes. While avoiding them on the timeline.

(It’s why my community has a “content shreds” group chat – post there, let others tear it apart & put it back together).

After waking up refreshed, I was ready to rewrite the hook and break down why my first one failed.

Here’s the newest version:

So, what went wrong with the first hook?

1) I didn’t target the reader or their specific problem in the first sentence

2) I didn’t use my audience’s language (I doubt anyone uses the word “forefathers”)

3) I failed to agitate their pain, pulling them in up to the final sentence

4) The hidden metric – gut feeling. Dan’s version just hit different.

This got me thinking about the importance of emotion-first writing.

Without emotional pull, your writing will never go viral, attract an audience, or get any attention.

Lesson: Twist the knife or post into the void forever.

My problem?

No writing course, cohort, or book I’ve come across tries to truly teach writing with emotion.

It’s time to change that.

A quick guide on writing with strong emotional pull:

Writing with Emotional Pull (A Guide That Works)

Writing with emotion isn’t rocket science.

It’s also not something reserved for the competent writers who’ve taken the time to hone their intuition.

It’s a skill anyone can learn (even a beginner).

If you experience emotion, you can write with it.

Here’s a simple framework for you:

Writing with both positive and negative emotion comes down to two bridge words…

… “Because” and “to”.

They connect:

1) Problems and pain

2) Desires and benefits

Without them, your writing lacks emotional pull.

Negative Emotion

Pain + Problem
You feel [pain] because you’re [problem]

Example:
You feel anxious because you’re not exercising daily.

Positive Emotion

Benefit + Desire
Become a [desire] to [benefit]

Example:
Become a digital writer to achieve mental clarity, reduce anxiety, and gain influence online.

Calling out problems, pain, desires, and benefits is not enough.

Emotional writing is how you connect them.

It’s how you make your audience feel like they’re dangling over a boiling pot, only to be dropped in, and realize it’s cold water.

Writing with emotion makes them FEEL rather than THINK.

Let’s look at Dan’s rewrite of my hook for a better understanding.

The 1st sentence calls out a problem:

Overthinking is a black hole.

The 2nd sentence provides context and relatability:

One thought turns into a million.

The 3rd sentence calls out bad (relatable) behavior:

You numb the pain with endless scrolling.

The 4th sentence agitates the pain and connects it to a desire:

The stress of not reaching your goals only adds to the pain.

The 5th sentence offers a benefit:

A thread on taking back control of your thoughts:

Do you see how each sentence is carefully designed to evoke emotion by associating problems, pain, desires, and benefits?

Understanding this framework is the first step to writing with emotion.

But it’s not the only step you need…

Reflection + Paying Attention

Most beginner writers don’t understand this:

Frameworks are not enough to create emotional writing.

If they were, everyone on X and LinkedIn would only be writing viral posts.

So, what separates the beginners from the Dan Koe’s of the marketing world?

Targeting identity.

What do I mean by this?

Frameworks are a great start but you need to know what words to put within them.

These words fit within an “emotional framework” (I’ll explain what these words are in just a minute)

Logical Framework:

You feel [pain] because you’re [problem].

Emotional Framework:

How will you swap the pain variable?

❖ Stress?
❖ Anxiety?
❖ Lack of confidence?

How will you swap the problem variable?

❖ Overweight?
❖ Overthinking?
❖ Overspending?

You might think this doesn’t matter but it does.

By trying to appeal to everyone, you attract no one.

Emotional words single people out by identity – which they will have both positive and negative associations with.

Hit them.

2 ways to find the ‘identity words’ that make your audience feel (use them in your emotional frameworks):

1) Reflection

Write to who you were 1 year ago:

⇢ What problems did you experience?
⇢ What pain did you feel?
⇢ How did you describe them to others or write them in your journal?

Do the same for goals and benefits related to your pain and problems (how you turned your negative experiences into positive experiences).

(Quick example from me).

The specific language you used is relatable language.

You’re not the only person who experienced this pain and those problems.

And you’re for sure, not the only one who used those words to describe them.

When others identify with the language you use, your writing becomes magnetic.

2) Pay Attention

Reflection alone won’t help you master emotional writing.

(Although, it can get you pretty far).

The next level is to listen.

Use market research to better understand how other people you want to attract, speak about their pain, and what problems they seek to solve.

Use the same language they use, to describe your own emotions.

This leads to emotional connection.

They see themselves in you (or who they wish to become).

Hint: Often top creators have already done the research for you (so you don’t have too).

Find 5 established creators who have the audience you want.

Use Deliberate Deconstruction to identify the problems, desires, benefits and emotional pain words they use in their recent top performing content.

Put them in a table, reference them every time you write.

You’ll have all the ammo you need.

Writing isn’t hard.
Knowing what to write about is.
And knowing how to write it, is even harder.

Until next time,

-Taylin John Simmonds

PS. I haven’t sent many newsletters recently. Long story short, Google made changes to email delivery and I had to hire an expert to make sure you’d actually get this newsletter. We’re back to regular cadence now. Thanks for your patience. I appreciate you.

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Taylin Simmonds
About the author

Retired educator turned creator and consultant, I took my ghostwriting agency to $500K/year. Now I guide other creators toward achieving similar results.

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