5 ways to set your writing on fire

Just like a bonfire, your words need to transfix your audience.

How can you build a meaningful life?

Where did we go when we die?

How many pieces of chocolate should go on a s’more?

And this one: How is that fire like a piece of great writing?

These questions came to me as I stared into the fire on the shore of Lake Michigan one evening. Some answers will always elude us, but one thing was obvious: Everybody else was looking at the fire, too.

There seemed something universally human about it—maybe it taps into our caveman roots—but it was hard to pull your eyes away from it. (Except to take out your contacts; it gets kind of smoky.)

Then I realized, that’s what you want your writing to be: something your readers can’t stop looking at.

Here’s how:

Start with a solid foundation

If you want a good fire, you’ve got to have the proper wood. For example, one person in our group started collecting firewood early in the morning.

When you plan ahead, your story will be better. Once you’ve been assigned a project, start brainstorming. Don’t wait until the last minute.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.