Media Shower writer Erin Pennings is well-known for her work in travel and food. You can follow her work on her site.
Begin everything you write with chocolate. It is downright divine; in fact, its Latin name, Theobroma cacao, translates to “food of the gods.” If the treat is good enough to appease deities, then it certainly can inspire us mere mortals. Keeping in mind that it’s a fun, engaging food, you’ll see how writing with chocolate is a recipe for success.
So, what does chocolate, in all of its savory sweetness, have to do with writing? Literally, not much. Unless you feel the need for a snack while typing away — in which case, go for it. Metaphorically, chocolate has everything to do with improving writing.
I first discovered the importance of including chocolate in college years ago, agonizing over a term paper topic for Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Guatemala. Theobroma cacao was the perfect choice. Why not? Everyone can relate in some fashion to chocolate. For me, writing about its consumption 1000-2000 years ago was the obvious choice to stand above the crowd. It would be memorable with wide appeal, and culminate an entertaining–and delicious–presentation.
There is a takeaway here far beyond my college tales. In choosing to write about this “food of the gods,” which incidentally garnered me a solid A, I learned how to mine for an angle. Anyone can write about any topic, but the key to making it memorable is to find the zing, a unique perspective or attribute that is interesting to a wide variety of people. The key is finding the chocolate.
Stop for a minute. Consider the last article online you actually read. What was most compelling? What made you click through, and what kept you reading? In essence, what was the chocolate?
- Fun and/or Sweet – the topic was fun or sweet, or the article offered a fun twist on the subject.
- Interesting and/or Entertaining – the article appealed to you and had something appealing to a wide range of interests.
- Informative – the article had information you were specifically researching, and it “fed” your mind.
Sound familiar? Maybe you are saying “Aha! I see the chocolate now!” Chocolate is fun, and its many varieties offer something for almost everyone’s tastes. Though perhaps not so informative, it is food for the body. If you are part of Team “Food of the Gods” (aka a chocoholic), you probably agree that it is also food for the soul.
Finding Your Chocolate
As you start mapping out your article, think of your topic, and ask the following questions.
- What aspect of your topic is widely relevant and interesting?
- What is potentially fun about your topic?
- What would potential readers want to know?
- How can you use these answers to narrow your focus and build your audience?
Now that you have the recipe and the ingredients for amazing writing, begin creating. Using the main attributes defined here as “chocolate,” you can author compelling pieces that will make you proud. You will have no trouble engaging your audience from the opening sentence (read here why this is important) to the final paragraph. Life is short, so you should always consider the chocolate first!
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