When you write, your voice is the attitude you take towards the world as a whole. Is the whole world against you, or is everything always getting better?
Your tone is the attitude you take towards your subject matter: does it excite you? Does it bore you? Does it make you feel home-sick?
Both of these are all about you. But what about your reader? How do you want them to feel? What attitude should they take towards what you’re saying?
When you write, the mood is how you make your reader feel about your topic. Do you want them to feel romantic? Do you want them to laugh? Do you want them to get raving mad?
Here is a Poem by William Wordsworth:
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
How’s it make you feel?
The feeling a piece of writing creates in you is the mood that it sets.
Even corporate-speak sets a mood: it makes the reader feel passive and bored, like everything is already under control, predictable, and not too interesting. Is that the mood you want your reader to be in?
Do you want people to feel protected and safe? Do you want them to feel inspired? Comfortable and at home? Like they can finally relax? Standing firm on solid ground? The way you use words creates that mood.
What about when you write about yourself? How do you want your audience to feel about you? What mood should you put them in?
Figuring that it out is what the process of branding is all about.
Photo courtesy of Maja.