A couple days ago, I wrote a post about my experience running out of gas at midnight in the middle of Utah.

The post got a lot of attention. People particularly commented on my use of descriptive language and storytelling. I don’t typically get comments like that, but that’s because I don’t typically write like that.

I thought back to a lot of my previous posts, and I noticed a general theme in my writing style. I typically write like a self-help author. It’s mostly second person, and involves me directly talking to the reader giving them insight.

This makes sense, because I am a self-help author, but if I’m being honest, I sometimes get bored with my own writing. Using the same tone, style, and language gets stale after a while.

Not that this style is bad, but some variation keeps things exciting. It was time to change it up.

So I intentionally wrote that post with a different style. Instead of describing an experience and immediately telling the reader how it relates to them, I focused on the story itself and left the reader as an independent observer.

Focusing on the story naturally entices and engages the reader. It captures their attention. Descriptive stories are more fun to write, and more fun to read.

Storytelling is the best way to convey thoughts, ideas, feelings, and knowledge. Stories engage people. Once a story starts, it’s hard not to listen to what happens next. It’s one of the most captivating ways to pull in an audience get them engaged and grab their attention.

To take it further, I told my story in the present tense as if it were happening right then and there. I also used first person to make it feel more real and allow the reader to identify emotionally with me as they were reading it.

Instead of writing: The car sputtered. I tried to turn it on. No luck.

I wrote: The car sputters. I try to turn it on. No luck.

Notice how the subtle change in tense shifts the entire tone of the statements? Instead of reporting what happened as if the event is over, the reader hangs onto each statement as if it’s happening right then and there. You want to find out what happens next, because it hasn’t happened yet!

This is probably part of the reason people felt more engaged and inclined to comment that they enjoyed the writing and the story.

Neither style is better. If I only wrote using descriptive first-person present tense language, that would get old after awhile too. The key is to switch it up consistently.

Telling your story in the first person and with present tense will open up opportunities for you to use more descriptive language it has a way of making you sound more personal, which makes people connect with you on a more personal level.

Try it out, and leave a link to your post! I would love to read it. Keep writing.