Wednesday, April 15, 2020

10 Tips for Irresistible Writing, Part 1

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Once I start reading, I can’t stop. Stellar writing makes for irresistible reading—an intriguing lead-in, a perfect transition, powerful insights, meaningful life experience, and a climactic finish. Authors who pick a “wow” idea and execute it with flare and precision, create irresistible writing. 
We need this kind of writing. We want this kind of writing. No matter how many magazine issues I’ve edited (at least thirty) or how many submissions I’ve reviewed (I’ve lost count), the right combination of ideas and execution makes me slow down and not only consider whether I can publish an article, but makes me ask, “How can I live this out in my own life?”

So what elements give writing this kind of impact? This month I will begin sharing ten proven tips for irresistible articles, devotions, blog posts, and books. 

These tips apply regardless of your purpose for writing. Are you seeking to instruct or inspire? To convince readers of a need or to solve a problem? To address a cultural issue or to address matters of the heart? Whether it’s a call to know God more, share His Word, minister to those in need, or take better care of ourselves, these tips can make your writing irresistible and fulfill your writing purpose.

1. Develop a main idea that isn’t too general, too obvious, or too “book report.”

Get your readers on board from the outset with a main idea that is clear, relevant, and appealing. Especially during this COVID-19 crisis, we may want to write about overcoming fear, but how would we do that? What would the main idea be? We could write about “Don’t be afraid” or “Have faith,” or we could add a how—“Draw courage from remembering what God has done in the past, and trust Him now.” Or we could give a why—“Persevere because God can see all of the good coming out of this that we can’t.” Sharing the how and the why, along with personal experience and insights, helps to make our writing irresistible.

Also, don’t write a book report. An article that has an “arm’s length” perspective on a topic won’t draw the reader in. Neither will an article that shares broad principles about a topic without anything creative and personable. Pick a specific truth to write about, and include the elements that inspire—a personal story, meaningful cross-references, and unique insights that God has taught you. 

2. Pick a perfect slant to illustrate your main idea.

Great writing first begins with an attention-grabbing slant. It could be a metaphor that illustrates a writer’s main point, and is woven into several sections of the writing. It could be a story that serves as a word picture. In a world where thousands of articles and books are submitted to editors each year, we can stand out by using a well-developed slant. 

In the spring issue of Refresh entitled “Sustaining Life’s Victories,” two authors illustrate how to use a personal story as a slant throughout an article. In “Get Back to Your Feet,” Karen Griffin uses an analogy to compare recovering from a fall on the sidewalk to recovering from a stumble in our walk with God. In “Avoid the Sting of Defeat,” Jeannie Waters uses her painful encounter with a yellow jacket to share six ways to avoid the devil’s poisonous stinger of temptation. Our stories serve as metaphors—as parables—through which we can teach and inspire. 

3. Take enough time to research the topic, so you can write it from the inside out. 

Knowing a topic from the inside out makes our writing more irresistible. We may not know every detail about our topic, but if we write from personal experience or well-founded conclusions based on sound research, our writing will be more engaging. 

If we’re writing a Christian living or Bible study article, our “research” needs to be spending quality time with God that shapes both our hearts and our writing. Journaling about a topic and praying about it, personalizes what we’re writing about and gives us extra insights we may not have had otherwise. Resources like Bible dictionaries or commentaries are springboards for insights that we can share with our readers. 

Statistics are a powerful ally in developing writing that makes an impact on readers and appeals to editors. They show the need and point to its solution. Websites like and can show us how many people struggle with a particular need, or can show us the specifics about a need and how to handle it. 

Of the three tips mentioned, which one makes writing irresistible to you? What draws you in and sticks with you after you’ve read it? Share your answer in the comments, and join the conversation! Next month I’ll share more tips for irresistible writing. 


Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. She loves connecting with writers and working alongside them in compilations, such as Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 which is a 2020 Selah Awards finalist. Lighthouse’s newest compilation, The Power to Make a Difference, released January 2020. 

In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at,, the Arise Daily blog, and two blogs on writing. She loves spending time with family and friends, making jewelry, and hunting for the best donuts. Connect with her at her blog, The Scrapbooked Bible Study, and on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Great article, Katy! Love all of these tips--and love how they force us to go deeper, ignoring useless platitudes and finding something that can make a difference in a reader's life.

    1. Thank you, Julie! I always appreciate your feedback. I feel like it's a good idea not to give pat answers or easy fixes, and I think you're hinting at that. Or to share messages that are too general. We need to share principles that God has made a reality for us or that we are at least learning along the way. Proven principles that heal, rescue, and make whole. His Word does that! God bless you and your ministries!

  2. What a great article: it renewed me! Reading it reconfirmed that my personal woes and triumphs, when used as illustrations of my own surges and stumblings on a "greater quest", His or mine ( they aren't always the same, unfortunately) are sometimes worthy of sharing. You inspire! DMC

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment. May God guide you as you write for Him! I am grateful He knows how to work good out of anything. He never wastes a trial.

  3. Super interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I just saw a FB post for Part 2, so I clicked to read this one first, of course. I am encouraged! I just felt God prompting me to polish my nonfiction WIP with more personal stories for each chapter. You confirmed that. Great job. Excuse me, while I click on Part 2.

    1. Thanks so much for reading both of them! May God bless you as you add to your book. When I thought my first book was done, I learned I needed to add more. Although it took three months, the process was worth it, and the sections I added were the parts my friends loved the most. Happy writing!