Here’s something weird about writing with empathy:

A lot of authors try to create empathy when they write. Let me say: THAT is cool. But the way they do it backfires. Let me show you.

Most authors default to a grammatical trick — the first person (I, we). It’s inclusive language, but it has a problem, in my experience: It sounds like the author is speaking FOR you, not TO you.

A simple change that builds both your authority and empathy with the reader is to switch to the second person and build empathy by being specific about the problem.


1st person: As authors, we all want to achieve a level of empathy with our readers. We all find that hard to do.

2nd person: As an author, you want to build empathy with your reader. You might find it hard to do without feeling like a counsellor. Be patient. It takes some time.

🤔 OK, I am a grammar nerd, but can you feel the shift in authority and empathy that comes with the second person (you)?

I would love to know your thoughts.