Saturday, November 24, 2018

Better Connection with the Reader by Writing Around the White Space

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

White space is negative space. The part left blank. The space between the elements.

In the graphic arts, white space is an integral component of the design. In music, the rests between the notes creates space and clarity. In speaking, the use of the pause allows the listener to grasp the punchline or the moral of the story.

And so it is in writing. The white space—the space around the letters, the words, the paragraphs, creates focus, clarity, and meaning for our readers.

White space separates and groups elements, adds emphasis and focus, invokes the imagination, attracts the eye, improves readability, and adds to an attractive and uncluttered design.

White space groups elements, adds emphasis, invokes the imagination, attracts the eye, improves readability, and adds to an uncluttered design.

So why don’t we focus on the white space? Often, as writers, we’re so concerned with what we say that we don’t focus on the space we create around our words.

As writers, we have many tools to create more white space and help our reader understand our narrative.

Tips to Create White Space
  • Bullets allow readers to quickly scan ideas and understand elements.
  • Headings and subheadings provide road signs pointing to the direction of the narrative.
  • Short sentences. Short paragraphs. Easier reading.
  • Images and graphics can also break the content and provide imagery to reinforce the message.
  • Pull quotes and call-outs (some even tweetable) can add emphasis to key points.

Writers, begin a new awareness to not only the words that you write, but the space you create to help your reader navigate your content. Give your readers space to grasp your content and absorb your meaning.


Cathy Fyock is The Business Book Strategist, and works with thought leaders and professionals who want to write a book as a professional development strategy. She is the author of eight books, including On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeksand Blog2Book: Repurposing Content to Discover the Book You’ve already Written. To date she has helped more than 150 professionals become published authors. 


  1. Great article Ms. Cathy. I've used "Wow boxes" for years to summarize the key selling points throughout proposals. Never thought of how I can do that in my Christian writing. Thanks for the prompt ma'am. God's blessings

  2. The less clutter the easier readability. Great points, Cathy!

  3. Bullet points for shooting your message out there clear and true. Love it.