ENTREPRENEURSHIP / DEC. 27, 2014
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Ways Being Too Emotional in your Writing Ruins your Credibility

When creating unique content describing a problem, it is often tempting to showcase your emotions about the topic at hand. While useful in limited quantities, the use of emotion in literary works can have a severe negative impact on the reception of the piece by the intended audience. Here are some of the ways that being too emotional can directly harm the quality and credibility of the piece.

It makes the reader feel manipulated

Readers select a piece to read because they feel it may give them insight into the problems they are facing in their daily lives. They hope that the content will provide a clear solution, or at least frame the situation in a manner that they can more easily understand.

Emotional appeals in these circumstances may convince the reader that the piece is not meant to be informative; on the contrary they may feel that it is manipulative to the extreme. The only way to prevent this issue is to keep to the facts, and utilize emotions only in designated pieces (editorial articles, for instance.)

It separates the actual content from the reader

The amount of information retained by the reader is inversely proportional to the amount of text included in the document. For instance, a simple sign saying, “Warning, crazed shooter in next room!” will be better understood than something like, “Exceptionally obtuse fools are inside, screaming things that hurt my ears and scared me. They also have guns and have promised to shoot the next person that comes in, and they are mean.”

The first document, without emotion, lets the reader know what is going on immediately. The second one requires the reader to think about what he read, to filter out the crud.

Emotion turns the reader off

People do not like being told how they feel on any topic. When they read a piece, they come to it expecting to form their own opinions and emotional responses. Creating an emotional tone throughout the piece robs them of the opportunity to have their own opinion, tempting them to pick another document to read.

For instance, you can say, “Twilight is a disaster that makes anyone sick that reads it.” This is filled with emotion, and implicitly tells the reader that he must become ill if he reads the text. A better way to phrase the sentence is, “The poor writing and editing of this novel has lowered the expectations for high quality literature, by removing the focus on solid character development in exchange for flashy genre, in my opinion.” This gives concrete reasons for your state, and does not force your gut reaction on to the reader.

Emotion appears amateurish

There are three ways to approach a topic. The first is through solid research and analysis. This is highly respected, and boosts the credibility of the writer. The second is to perform a review of the topic, and provide basic analysis that does not venture into emotion. It is less in depth than a full research project, but it is still respectable since it is based on fact.

The final way to approach a topic is through emotion. We see this every day in political commentary, when people throw fact checking out the window and make emotional appeals, “The government is bad, since the President is a Black Commie Crony Capitalist Muslim Atheist from Kenya.” Not a single fact in that, besides the title of the office and ethnicity, but it appeals to the emotions of certain segments of the populace.

For the rest, that line would disqualify the article, and place the writer on a black list for the rest of eternity.  

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