To me writing is like painting a picture or telling a story. When you paint a picture, you are also actually telling a story. When you watch a commercial, for example, what do you see? You see a story. It doesn’t matter that it’s a one to two minute commercial, it’s still a story. When you call your phone service provider or your hosting provider for an issue you may have, you are telling them a story. The story of the issue about what you’re calling for. When you send that email to your list, even if your message is just a five line paragraph, you are telling a story. There is a story behind just about anything and everything.
When you are writing an online article, you need to tell a story for your readers to be interested in what you’re saying (writing). In other words, you need to paint a picture. Let’s see how we could compare writing to painting a picture and how it can help you to write better gripping articles that your readers will love.
First – Paint a Picture in your Head
Something that will help you greatly to write an article or a blog post that has a real meaning for the reader is to paint a picture in your head first.
When I say paint a picture in your head, I mean visualize or think about what you want to talk about. What will your story be this time? Your picture might not be very clear at first, and in this case I always suggest that you take a walk while thinking about your writing. As you do, do not force the issue. Just enjoy your walk while thinking about what you would want to talk about. You’ll be surprise how ideas will start coming to you. I suggest that you have a note pad or other recording device to take notes of your ideas as they may be gone by the time you reach your computer.
If you can’t go take a walk, try to quiet your mind while think about what you would like to talk about in your article, try to get inspiration by reading, watching a movie, or anything that float your boat. Try to paint that picture in your mind by taking your mind off the blank page and on the desire to tell a story.
Second – Paint the Background
When you paint a picture you always start with the background. Now, how does that apply with writing? Start writing about the main concept of your story. This is exactly how I started writing this very article. I woke up this morning with a title idea. That’s it. Then, I started painting my background asking myself the question, how can I compare writing with painting?
I started adding colors to my background by writing my ideas down without worrying too much about the details. When you paint your background, you usually don’t worry too much about details. Details come when your painting is almost complete, but for now, you are just painting the background, it’s just an idea still. Write down what comes to your mind. Don’t’ worry about the misspellings or grammar at this point, just spell out your ideas.
Third – Paint the Central Piece
Once you’re done with the background it’s time to add your more important items. When I’m done with the background of my painting, which is usually the sky and far away fuzzy trees or mountains, I start concentrating on the more close up and important items of my painting. When it comes to painting, this could be close up mountains, lake, or bridge or house, for example. This requires more attention and more detailing.
In your writing, this could be compared to the subheadings that make your article easy to follow through and even scan, if your reader wants to have a good idea of what your article is about before reading it entirely. Your subheading needs to be very specific and tell the reader what your article is all about. Your subheading will start being clear only when your story and background are clear too.
Once the subheadings are in place you can start developing the foreground of your article.
Fourth – Painting the Foreground
Now your background is done, your central important piece is done; now it’s time to paint your foreground items. In my paintings those foreground items are items that appear closer to the viewer, the ones they may put the most attention to.
In writing, such foreground items are your paragraphs, the very body of your content, and where the story is all revealed. Your foreground is the very content you want people pay close attention to. Your foreground is the specific theme of your article.
The foreground of the painting is what takes the most time to the painter. As you write the foreground of your content, you want to give the meat or the plat-the-resistance of your story. That’s where you want to spend the most time as well.
Fifth – The Final Touch
A painting would not be complete without the final touch; where you add all these little details that make a painting complete, better, and more real looking.
This is when you review and edit your article. The final touch is when you add or take off words, sentences, and punctuation marks until your article looks perfect and makes complete sense. The final touch comes once I’m done with this paragraph and I will go back to the top of my article to make sure that what I’ve just written makes any sense and if it actually will be helpful to the reader.
With writing, I like to do my final touch the next morning. That’s why as a freelance writer I never deliver an article the same day.
I know that some people are skipping this part all together, but for me this is one of the most important step of both my painting and writing. I could not bear the idea of letting someone see my product without my final touch.
I hope this post will help you to see writing as a story telling or an image painting, and make the challenge of writing easier for you.
Please, leave your thoughts and inputs below!
32 thoughts on “Paint A Picture With Your Writing – 5 Easy Steps To Follow”
This was a fun analogy, Sylviane. Writing is creative just like painting and I can definitely visualize what I’m going to say. This is also helpful for people who are not really sure how to go about writing. When they get stuck they can think of this helpful analogy and start putting some ideas together.
I also like the way you separated the background (your content) from the foreground (formatting). Plenty of people overlook the foreground and they end up with pages of writing that is very bland and hard to get through.
The finishing touches are also important and should never be overlooked! I also like to wait until the next day or even later before I edit something because it’s very easy to get blinded by whatever is in your head and miss some obvious things. It’s like I have a vision in my head of all the lovely trees and clouds so that’s what I see on the page. Even though it may look more like a swamp 🙂
And I still love your paintings!
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I know you have no problem what so ever to come up with writing ideas, Carol. When I read your posts, I’m always amazed about how much details you come up with and knowledge of your stuff as well.
I thought it would be fun to compare painting and writing since both are a creation coming from our own little heads 🙂 and both so much fun to me.
Thank for coming and for your input, Carol.
Wonderful… How artistic you are? 😉 This reminds me of your bird nest story with mother birdy and little ones 😉 I can see ’em on the tree top in your painting above… Very nice dear.
Well, for me, I do come up with idea or mostly it’s a question from my readers 🙂 But when it comes to writing I have to think other affecting areas too and make myself clear what should I write. Visualizing the big picture, right? 😉 I’m not a walky person, but do watch movies and take time to relax myself to build up ideas. Notepad and mobile are ones hold my ideas 😉
Usually I get ready my posts earlier and post or schedule on certain days. I don’t think being hurry with writing is a good idea if it isn’t a timely topic. I did few times though. Anyway I go through my posts over again and sometimes I delete all of ’em and write entirely a new post. Well, Final touch can change everything 😉
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So, you’re not a walking persone? You should it’s good for you, Mayura 🙂 I know you’re still young, tough.
I know that some people tend to redo too much when they edit their articles and that’s the tricky part for some people, I hear. As for me I make sure I don’t do that and there is no need for it because when I get to that step my article is pretty much set and all I need to make it “better” by adding or taking off just small details.
Thanks for your feedbacks, Mayura and have a great rest of the week!
Hi Sylviane, These are great techniques, beautifully illustrated with your lovely painting! You’re right, it’s important to visualize what your article will be before you write it. In fiction, people advise to cast your characters with actors so you get a feeling for the character as you’re writing.
I love color so your idea of an article as a painting is very appealing!
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Yes, it’s true that if you’re writing a fiction story you need to put faces on those characters. Putting faces you don’t know it’s tough, so the idea of casting “real faces” actors that would play the characters is a great idea indeed.
I’m a visual person, so I “see” what I want to write.
Thanks for your interesting input 🙂
This is a very creative analogy comparing writing a story to painting a picture. I’ve never thought of approaching writing this way, but you have challenged me to give it a shot. I think I take some of the steps but I don’t do them in order. For me, the challenge is what story I want to write about. Your idea of taking a walk, clearing your head, and taking notes is a great way to become inspired. I need that right now! I will follow your analogy and see what happens.
I love your style of writing and now I realize why your posts are so good! You always provide value because you are write on the premise of real meaning for the reader.
The steps you listed are worth repeating:
First – Paint a Picture in your Head
Second – Paint the Background
Third – Paint the Central Piece
Fourth – Painting the Foreground
Fifth – The Final Touch
Once I know what I want to write about and can visualize it in my head, I think I can do this! Very helpful. Thank you.
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I cannot believe that you would have any trouble writing anything Raena, because your comments are always so valuable and long. I’ve seen you writing a second article down below a blog post before 🙂
Thank you so much for your compliments. I always take compliments to get better at what I do as it gives me an immense boost. I truly love to write, and I am lucky enough to have two friends who are telling on a regular basis that I’m a good writer, and I need it as my self confidence is very fragile, you know 😉
If you apply my advice here, let me know how it goes for you 🙂 I would love to hear it!
Well Sylviane, this was a fabulous analogy and of course I love your painting that you shared. Here’s the problem for me.. I never really plan ahead.
I was over at another friends blog a couple weeks ago and she wrote out this great list of how we should plan out our posts. Similar to yours but yours is more visual. I don’t take any of these steps before sitting down to write. I just know in my mind what my topic is and I just start writing. I have no earthly idea what’s going to come out to be honest with you.
I’ve never been good at visualizing things. If I know what it looks like then I have no problem doing that. If I don’t then I just struggle. Never been my strong suit.
I still love what you shared though Sylviane and you make this fun. Thanks for sharing this with us..
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I love what you are saying, because it shows that we are all different. There is really no right and wrong to come up with a post or article as long as it works for you. This type of post, of course, is not really girded towards people like you who have no problem what so ever to come up with 800-1000 words with no problem 🙂 but those who kinda sorta struggle a bit.
I love to compare writing to other things that people may not have thought about and that may be able to help them to come up with more ideas.
Thanks for your great input, Adrienne.
My dear Sylviane,
You have created a beautiful analogy! Thank you so much for sharing your professionalism with us. I have a new perspective now, especially not sending things out the same day! That was the biggest lesson for me.
I had to read this post twice for it to all sink in. I’m funny that way…. but now I have a better perspective of writing. I write as fast as I speak…and that is fast. Then I look over it change it up a bit and have David proof read it for me. That’s my usual plan.
I always get off the subject, it is something I tend to do as my mind works so quickly. Now, after reading this, I have come away with a new perspective. You are such a great teacher. Keep on teaching ….
I thank you,
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Wow, you guys are so kind to me and you are making my day with all your compliments. Thank you Donna for yours as always 🙂
I’m so glad if this post has given you a new perspective on writing. I do write a lot on instinct as I am asking my subconscious mind during self hypnosis to come up with great writing ideas. Since you’re no stranger to self hypnosis, you might be doing this to?
Believe it or not, I also pray for my content to be good and helpful, and since I’ve been doing that I get great feedbacks, not only on my own post, but everywhere I write. So, it works!
So, here I did it. I told you my little secret 😉 Thanks for coming, Donna and your great comment.
Hi Sylviane. Nice concept and great way of teaching people how to write an article/story. I find that it takes me a long time to write a blog, no matter how short, so I don’t consistently write because it takes so long. This idea of painting a picture I think I’ll apply and see how that helps me. Hopefully, and it seems easy enough, I can write a story faster but applying those techniques. Thanks this was very helpful.
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I’m glad if this could help you some. So far, from the feedbacks that I’ve gotten it seems that people like this concept and want to use it. That’s great!
Let me know how it works for you! And thanks for your visit 🙂
This is a great article and I love the concept but I noticed it brought up some “stuff” for me. I hated art (painting, drawing etc) as a kid as I just did not believe I could do it. But I loved writing stories. I have never really thought about them tied together as you have demonstrated.
I am like Adrienne I just write. Of course I do check on what I am doing and tweak and change along the way.
Like Donna my husband is my proof reader and sort of critic as I have a ascendancy to leave out words.
I may just give this a go as I love reading your articles.
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You and Donna are lucky to have husbands who are your proof readers, I don’t have such thing 🙂
Since I love both writing and painting I thought it would be fun to write about the similarity of the two. Of course, people can write without such analogy as well.
Thank you for your feedbacks, Sue.
This is a great analogy, it really works to paint the picture! 🙂 I use the same steps in writing my fiction works. I would do well to follow all of the steps in my blogging. I put a lot of time into the thought behind it, the research, making it look nice. But too often, I skip the step of going over it. I’m eager to get it out there, so I don’t let it sit like I should. My posts would be a lot more polished if I spent more time on the finishing touches.
It’s literally a bigger picture with my novels. I started with a basic idea for a story. But a one sentence idea does not make a 130,000 word story! Then I had to fill in a lot of details to make the story come to life. That was all the fun stuff. Then came the final part, the real work! Editing, proofing, polishing.
Thanks for such a fun read!
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Nice to see you here and it made me think that I haven’t been at your place in a while 😉
As a fiction story author I bet you can create pictures in your head, as a matter of fact, you kinda of have too. So, I know someone like you would be very familiar with such process.
If you don’t need to review your posts that shows a lot of self confidence and great writing skills. I don’t trust myself that much, so editing is not an option for me.
Thanks for you very nice input 🙂
I too am an artist. I am new to writing. I can really relate to what you are describing about the different layers of the visual creative process.
I do have to say I think writing is harder in some ways and easier in others.
Harder because I am a visual person so it’s hard for me at times to let the subconscious process of free flowing thought occur in words rather than visual concepts. I really like abstract painting. Put the music on and let it flow.
I do know this, writing takes me a lot of time maybe because I’m new at it. How many hours a week are you writing?
I’m happy to see we have these things in common!
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I am glad we have some common grounds as well. I know what you mean about writing being harder in a way if you are more of visual person, but you can also Learn how to visualize your writing.
I am sure that your writing will increase in speed as you keep on writing. I write much faster than I did 5 years ago for example. Way faster!
How many hours do I write in a day? Well, depending on the day, but anywhere between 2 to 5 hours. I can write a 1,000 word article in about 25-30 minutes now, once I know the theme of my article.
Thanks for coming and I’ve got to go to see you at your place 🙂 I’d love to see your paintings!
Here’s a link to some of my paintings…enjoy! http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/tonya-rosa-stephens.html
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Sylviane, You have a great way to look at writing and taking a breather away for a minute works for me every time.
I must add sometimes it is hard to come up with ideas. Lucky for me ethics is such a big topic I can always find inspiration. 🙂
Politicians, sport players, and celebrities provide me with plenty of material.
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Oh yes, you are in a niche where you should never run out of topics to write about. As a matter of fact, if you are in the right niche for you that should be the case for anyone.
Thanks for coming and glad you enjoyed!
This famous saying crossed my mind after I read your post: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass”.(Anton Chekhov). A great analogy between the different forms of art and truly valuable hints.
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Thanks for coming and I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
Even though I can’t paint for toffee, I can really relate to this analogy. Visualisation has become more important to me over the last few years, in all sorts of ways – it’s a powerful relaxation technique and I think it also helps to release our creative energy.
You’re so right in saying that writing is like painting a picture – the authors that I find most compelling are those who conjure up the most vivid mental images in my mind.
I also agree that it’s a great idea to take your ideas for a walk – and you’ve reminded me of my frequent failure to take something with me to note down ideas, which often come to me when I’m walking the dogs. I must remember to slip a notebook in amongst the poo-bags! It never ceases to amaze me how easily brilliant ideas just disappear into the ether – it’s really infuriating when that happens.
You’re right about those finishing touches, too – very important!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this painting – thank you!
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Sorry for that late response to your comment. I took a few days off the computer on this holiday week end.
I’m so glad that you can confirm what I am talking about in this post with your own experiences. Yes, being able to give a vivid images to the reader is very, very important because the reader will remember the point for ever that way and enjoy the reading more as well.
I know what you mean about great ideas disappearing into the ether, that’s why I always tell people to write them down right away, because it will go away in an instant.
Thanks for your input, Sue 🙂
I find your delayed response quite reassuring, Sylviane – we all need to take some time off.
Thanks for your reply and I hope you had a great thanksgiving.
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Very creative and innovative post, Sylviane. I agree; writing is just like painting a picture in many ways. You have to be able to communicate and connect with your audience in a simple yet effective way. Painting pictures with your writing is one of the very best ways to do this. After all, as humans, our minds think in pictures. Thanks for sharing this post with our BizSugar community. It was very insightful and I enjoyed reading it!
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Yes, for most people we do think in pictures. Most of us can visualize things in our head, that’s why descriptive article using stories and example work great. I know that my readers love it when I do use them to bring out my point.
Thanks for visiting and see you at your place 🙂
I can see how the painting concept can work. I have painted in the past and know what you say.
Writing I thought I never could do, but it seems the more I do the better it gets. Sometimes I sit down with a flicker of any idea and it becomes something. Others times I come up with a title and later I figure out how to use…but I have some titles that have been collecting dust! Most of the time I say before I go to sleep, “uh, please I need some help here.” In the middle of that night or the next night I come up with something.
I guess we all have to draw on what works best. But I sure up for trying something different. Very good insight on what we can do.
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How interesting that I can relate to everything you’re saying here, because the sames things happen to me from time to time. that is totally normal I would say.
Yes, and I also ask for help for my writing as well, I ask, I meditate about it and self hypnosis it, so to speak. I use all the tools I have, because writing is not always easy, is it?
Thank you for your excellent feedbacks 🙂
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