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Article Teaser: How many times have you picked up a book or an article, and just couldn't get into it? You got through a sentence or two, and then... you suddenly found yourself scrubbing the toilet, or eating a sandwich (but not at the same time, please), instead of reading. The reading didn't hold you. Why not?

Keep reading below...

How Your Writing Can Have Impact For 2700 Years

Copyright (c) 2006-2017
(See This Article in its Original Format.)

As taught to you by Homer. Not Homer Simpson, but Homer of that 2700 year-old ancient Greek epic The Illiad. You may turn up your nose at ancient texts, but a lot more people have read Homer than have read you.

And if you are trying to use your writing, on websites, in articles, or in advertising, to build your business, well... you'll want to listen to old Homer (in this case translated by Samuel Butler):

"Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another."

"And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel?..."

You might be as surprised as I was to see how engaging this classic is, right from the very first paragraph.


Why Is It Still So Engaging 2700 Years Later?

How many times have you picked up a book or an article, and just couldn't get into it? You got through a sentence or two, and then... you suddenly found yourself scrubbing the toilet, or eating a sandwich (but not at the same time, please), instead of reading.

The reading didn't hold you. Why not?

It has to do with some very simple truths about human intimacy and connection. Ignore them, and your writing may also be sent 'hurrying down to Hades' or left as 'prey to dogs and vultures.'


Everyone Needs Connection And Belonging.

'Belonging' is a simple need, that, if unfulfilled through your writing, will leave you without readers. How did Homer help you feel like you wanted to belong in his writing?


Bored Belonging = (Details + Familiarity)

The last time you felt like you belonged somewhere, I'm betting that many things felt familiar. And what felt familiar? The details. At a friend's house the couch is always in the same place, and you know where the bathroom is.

The problem is when too many details become too familiar- they become a little boring. You tend not to see them anymore, and, when someone brings them up to you- you don't care.


Connected Belonging = (Details + Familiarity) / Curiosity

Connection happens when you engage with something larger than yourself; the Great Unknown, the natural curiosity in your heart to learn and grow and adapt. And that's a key to avoiding boredom in your writing.

To make the leap from boring writing to belonging, you need to bring in familiar details. But to create truly connected writing, you also have to add a dash of curiosity.

How do you do this?


Keys to Writing a Classic

  • Dump the introduction- In media res instead

    Homer just jumped into the middle of it all. He starts discussing the 'countless ills' and the 'anger of Achilles' without bothering to say: "Look, ten years ago this guy Paris stole King Menelaus' wife Helen." 'In media res' is Latin for 'In the middle of the thing.'

    By starting in the middle of something, you treat your reader as if they are already an insider- they already belong.

  • Bring in just enough familiarity.

    The truth is that Homer's Iliad may be a little unfamiliar to you, and so it may not engage as powerfully as it could. However, it's lasted as long as it has because enough people are at least passing familiar with the Trojan war, and the hero Achilles, if no one else.

    Notice that even if the only person or thing you are familiar with is Achilles, it can be enough to keep you engaged through some of the other details. As long as people have one or two details that are familiar, they can tolerate a fair amount of newness.

  • Connection/Disconnection

    Connect your paragraphs. Meaning, find an important word in the last line of the previous paragraph, and include it in the first sentence of the next paragraph. Notice in the Key above how I repeated 'Achilles' and 'familiar' in the last sentence/first sentence to create connection.

    From time to time disconnect your paragraphs. In the first part of this article I was running along happily about Homer and the Iliad, and then suddenly I ask a question "Why is it still so engaging 2700 years later?" But the next paragraph has (apparently) nothing to do with the question, Homer, or the Iliad.

    This disconnection, after providing a certain amount of familiarity and belonging, invites you to be part of something larger- to learn, to grow, to adapt. To be curious.

    Try writing a short article, and put these three pieces into practice. Notice the -zing- that comes into your writing? You are on your way to writing a classic, the foundations of your business legacy.


    My very best to you and your business,

    Mark Silver


    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around the globe succeed in business without losing their hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online: http://www.heartofbusiness.com

    Follow "The Phantom Writers" on Twitter (@phantomwriters)
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