Charisma Is For Writers

Charisma Is For Writers

You know people with charisma.


You may or may not know what it is about them that makes them “charismatic” (I’m not talking about charismatic spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit). 


According to one definition, Jesus had charisma, because He oozed the three ingredients of charisma as described by expert Olivia Fox Cabane.


Those ingredients are: 


  1. Presence
  2. Power
  3. Warmth


Cabane says people with charisma are present. When they’re with you, they’re with you. They don’t seem like their mind is off somewhere else when you’re talking to them. They feel solid. 


People with charisma seem powerful. This is often a byproduct of presence, but a sense of power could come from a lot of places. Maybe they just look fit. They will definitely seem confident, since they must be powerful if they are confident. They’ll have a posture that says they have high self esteem. You’ll see them or hear them talk and you’ll assume they are not to be trifled with. They may look you in the eye, speak slowly, and never qualify their statements or ask for affirmation, such as when someone says, “right?”after every statement or end a declaration with a question mark by turning the tone upward at the end of a sentence??? (See what I did there?)


People with charisma do not just seem powerful. They also seem warm, which means they would use that power to help you. They seem like they like you. 


Jesus was present because He walked constantly in the Holy Spirit. The idea of the incarnation was the very “presence” of God the Son on the earth. 


Jesus was powerful. That’s why His disciples were always getting freaked out by Him. This man had power over the wind, waves, demons, sickness, and even death. 


And Jesus was warm. The leper said to Him, “if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus said, “I am willing. Be clean.” The leper knew Jesus was able, but he needed to know if Jesus was willing. Did Jesus like him enough to use His power to help him? He did. 


Writing with Charisma 


People are drawn to people with charisma. But are people drawn to charismatic writing? Why not? Writing is always attached to the writer, and just as we’d want to listen to someone who was present, powerful, and warm, we want to read what they have to write. 


Writing With Presence 


My goal every day is to write with presence. What I mean is, I can write any time of the day, but I can only write well at certain times when I get into flow, or what some might call, getting into the zone. You have been in flow when you were doing your best work and lost track of the time. Cal Newport calls this “deep work.” It can happen on the basketball court, playing a video game, or writing. It happens whenever you are so all in, so deeply focused, that you are tapping into the very best that you are capable of at the moment. It feels so other worldly that you can wonder if it is God taking over (and who is to say He’s not?). When you are in flow, you are present and your readers will know. 


Writing With Power


Writing with power is slightly different. People can talk in an indirect, wishy-washy way that shows you they may not even believe themselves. Writers can write the same way. This does not mean to be arrogant or claim things to be true and incontestable when they are not necessarily true or incontestable. It does not mean to be arrogant. You can be humble and write with power and confidence. I think it is easier to write with confidence than it is to speak with confidence. With writing, you can edit. You can remove the tone of uncertainty before you hit send. 


Writing With Warmth


What turns me off more than anything else in a writer is meanness. Unfortunately, meanness and arrogance sells (although it only sells to other mean and arrogant people). But when I read something that makes me feel seen and loved (or at least cared about) by the author, I want to read more. I’m not talking about pandering to readers. I’m not talking about flattery. I’m talking about a genuine spirit of goodness and neighborly love that comes from the pages. 


Presence, power, and warmth delivering a great message will win every time. Look at the last thing you wrote and rate it on a scale of 1-5 in these three areas. Please feel free to comment on the results. 


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