Harness the One Word That Can Make All Your Writing Better

by Brad Isaac on November 27, 2006

Bloggers, students, e-mailers, lend me your ears…

What if there was one word that would make all of your writing better?     Imagine if when you used this word to its full capacity, your writing sizzled, your words took on a new power.

I am going to tell you what it is, but you have to read every word below to understand how to use it.   And if you are a marketer, no it isn’t the word “Free!!!”.

When you adapt this word to your writing, you will be implementing not just a word but a concept.   Your writing will be focused.   It will be easier for the reader to understand.   And finally, it will be more persuasive.
So without further adieu, the word that makes every writer a better writer is argument.

(applause break)

Here’s how to use the word argument to make all of your writing better.

If you are going to write something, it needs to have a point.   To convince your reader to read beyond your first sentence, this point needs to have a strong reason or argument for the reader to continue.

Keeping the word “argument” in the back of your mind makes the task of writing easier.   You can go through each sentence and say “Does this sentence add to or take away from my argument?”   If it doesn’t add anything to your argument, just throw it out.

Similarly, you should use only phrases and concepts that add to your argument.

After you have an argument solid with the supporting sentences in place, you might be tempted to forage into new territory.   Avoid this like the plague.   You must be careful not to introduce new arguments or unrelated concepts that will distract from your original argument.

Think of how a lawyer would handle your argument that introduces a completely different argument?   She’d tear it apart without even thinking about it.   If your argument in 500 words claims Ruby on Rails is the best programming language, then it might be a good argument.   But concluding by stating in certain circumstances PHP is better, then you’ve perjured yourself.   The jury is swayed.   Let the record show the witness is sometimes beholden to PHP!   No further questions!

Better to start with a different argument (i.e. Ruby on rails is the best except under certain circumstances) or leave out your side argument altogether.

The same is true with comments that do not contribute to your original argument.   If your argument is that Charles Dickens Great Expectations was autobiographical.   A comment about how you relate to Pip too then your argument is weakened.   Unless your name is Charles Dickens the VII, get rid of it!

There you have it.   You’ve got the one word that makes all writing better.   Decide on your argument and then drive it home.   Focus on winning your argument by using supporting sentences.   Delete the sentences that don’t carry their weight.     And finally, avoid the lure of becoming distracted by unrelated comments and contradictory arguments.

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{ 1 comment }

February 6, 2007 at 1:02 am

What a great site

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