The Public Relations BlogCreativityStorytelling & WritingWilliam Faulkner on Writing From the Heart

William Faulkner on Writing From the Heart

Writing advice from one of our greatest authors.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


William Faulkner was one of the greatest writers of all time.

Read what the geni­us nov­el writer William Faulkner said in his 1950 accept­ance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature:

[…] the young man or woman writ­ing today has for­got­ten the prob­lems of the human heart in con­flict with itself which alone can make good writ­ing because only that is worth writ­ing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach him­self that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teach­ing him­self that, for­get it forever, leav­ing no room in his work­shop for any­thing but the old ver­it­ies and truths of the heart, the uni­ver­sal truths lack­ing which any story is eph­em­er­al and doomed – love and hon­or and pity and pride and com­pas­sion and sac­ri­fice.

Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses any­thing of value, and vic­tor­ies without hope and worst of all, without pity or com­pas­sion. His griefs grieve on no uni­ver­sal bones, leav­ing no scars.

He writes not of the heart but of the glands.”

All stra­tegic PR mes­saging should begin with this simple yet power­ful ques­tion; is this a mat­ter of the heart? Is this a real story about love, hon­our, pity, pride, com­pas­sion, or sacrifice? 

Read also: How Nick Cave Turned Down MTV With Some Classy Writing

Communication is not primar­ily about speak­ing your mind but find­ing the right words in your heart. How do you make people care about your PR message?

We care about con­flicts.
We care about stakes.

Sometimes, I find inspir­a­tion just from look­ing at the illus­tra­tion below as a remind­er to high­light the emo­tion­al aspect of being alive:

William Faulkner on Writing From the Heart
Various emo­tions in writ­ing. Creator: Unknown.
Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: Free Writing PR Course

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has



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