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24th June, 2021

A Comprehensive Guide to Influential Writing

Words have the power to inspire and create change in society and hence, writing in an influential manner is an extremely extensive skill to have in today’s day and age. It has innumerable benefits and can impact positively how one presents themselves in front of the world.

It provides us with several promising career options, but even if one does not wish to pursue it full time, it can prove to be incredibly crucial in every single field because it serves as a base for further skill development. A teacher must write beautifully in order to aid her teaching process.

A marketer must write distinctively in order to appeal to a variety of customers. Every single interviewee must create a powerful resume in order to be considered a stronger candidate. Some of the benefits include:

  • Clear and effective communication
  • Resolving problems efficiently
  • Impactful impression on the audience
  • Building trust in professional and interpersonal relationships
  • Increase in engagement with consumers

Now that we have successfully established how significant influential writing is, the next obvious question it leads us to is how exactly do we master it? It is not an uncomplicated process. Not only does it take a lot of trial and error to get better at it, it also requires time, investment, and determination.

This article explains in great detail, yet in an incomplex manner, the ways or initial steps that can be taken in order to get started with this.

Choose a format

Writing can be done in a variety of formats (technical content, marketing content, academic journals, informative articles, interactive stories, and essays, etc.) based on which one can move forward. The first and foremost step is to figure out what is the most suitable on the basis of enjoyment, expertise, and application. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I enjoy writing?
  • What am I good at?
  • What is the usage and/or application and how can it help me grow (in terms of the benefits mentioned above)?

Find something that answers the above three questions.

Discover your niche

After figuring out what you want to write (i.e., format), the next obvious question is what do you want to write about? The aforementioned questions need to be asked again to find the intersection, and that is where you should commence this tedious yet exhilarating journey.

Upgrade your English (or any other preferred language)

Now is the time to improve HOW you’re going to put across those beautiful thoughts of yours. For this purpose, a medium is required and needs to perfect. Begin from the basics such as spelling, grammar, and sentence structure, then move on to the significantly nuanced topics such as vocabulary and methods to make the exact same sentence sound much more intriguing.

Read more books

In the words of Mark Haddon, “Reading is a conversation. All books talk, but a good book listens as well.”

The books we read act as a mirror by letting us know what lies inside us. It is said that to create is to consume. Hence, being well-read is the most dangerous and powerful one can be. It can aid in getting a hang of a variety of topics while also offering great familiarity with several writing styles. This is a must for success, irrespective of the desire to be an influential writer.

Consume more unconventional content

A great way to create phenomenal content is to consume phenomenal content. Great minds think alike is a notorious statement, and unconventionality just adds a spin to it. Apart from the usual, mainstream novels, articles and essays, podcasts, audiobooks, graphic novels, self-help books, news articles, etc. are a great way to brush up your writing skills. It enables us to open up a bunch of new possibilities while simultaneously serving as a medium for recreation.

Personalize writing techniques

Distinguished ways work for different people which is why with time, a go to plan must be devised to offer a structured plan with certain steps. The purpose of this plan is to solely enable you to perform this skill in a meticulous way. A notorious technique that enables you to sort your thoughts and proceed in an immaculate manner is:

  • C – Collect
  • O – Organise
  • D – Draft
  • E – Edit
  • R – Revise
  • S – Submit

This offers a detailed structure to provide a path for your thoughts to be transcribed on paper.

Focus on strong introductions and conclusions

It is widely known that the first impression one creates on someone is also the last impression, which is why the introduction of any piece of content needs to exert power. This process can be carried out in the following thought-provoking ways:

  • Open with a quote.
  • Mention a few statistics to further prove your point.
  • Use a philosophical concept or a psychological fact.

Another essential aspect of any form of writing is to conclude graciously since that is the final impression you give your readers before they move on and engage with something else. If it is an exceptional one, it will compel them and make them want to hear more about you, engage with you and consume more of your content.

The writing piece must flow

A fairly common mistake that people make is not connecting various aspects and parts of a writing piece seamlessly. It gives the impression that the reader is going through several independent paragraphs, which makes it rather difficult for them to comprehend the article and retain the information by fully perceiving the essence of the piece.

Use figures of speech

WHAT you say in your piece of content is definitely very crucial and should be chosen with considerable care, precision and conscientiousness as mentioned in the above points. However, it is equally important, if not more, to think about HOW you say it and put your point across. To exemplify,

“The apparent reluctance to address menstruation in detail perhaps reflects a scarcity of sources.”

vs.

“We do not talk about periods because the sources are less.”

Sentence 1 has a significantly better influence and impact on the readers. This happens because of the following reasons:

  • Better vocabulary by using synonyms: One should always use better-looking and sounding synonyms instead of the commonly used word that comes to mind initially. This, of course, should be done in moderation, only after analyzing and keeping in mind the capacity of the audience as discussed in point number 10. It emphasizes the significance of knowing one’s audience since making the nature of the content extremely complex might be counterproductive. More often than not, it can end up scaring the readers off.
  • Better phrasing: It is often encouraged to use passive voice instead of active voice since the indirect nature of this sentence makes it incredibly ornate.
  • Adjectives and Adverbs: This offers a sense of great complexity and depth to everything being mentioned in the essay by presenting in detail a description for the same.
  • Metaphors and Analogies: It can be extremely helpful to make subjects crystal clear by offering a relevant comparison through a metaphor (short symbolic comparison) or an analogy (direct detailed comparison). This also makes the write-up significantly more intriguing as opposed to a direct account of facts and thoughtless paragraphs filled with as much information as possible.
  • Alliteration: The usage of words that have a similar sound can make the sentence sound incredibly pleasant to the reader. This poetic device works even more beautifully if the words in question are three in number and in the following order: adjective 1, adjective 2, and the subject.

 Know your audience

Once you have figured out your niche and purpose, this should be fairly simple. Different people consume different types of content. The idea is to get a fair estimate of the likes and dislikes, humor, and comprehensive ability of the group in question. For example, if you are writing about a topic that mainly interests middle-aged men, giving references or making jokes about millennial trends will prove to be counterproductive. On the contrary, a piece of content meant for teenagers must include gen z humor, occasional slang, and trendy social media lingo. Things like technical writing pieces meant for academics must exert prestige but story writing for kids must be easier to comprehend.

Be consistent

When talking about mastering any skill, consistency is key. Practicing every day is substantial and carries a lot of weight. Being your own critique as well as asking friends, family, and colleagues for constructive feedback is an excellent way to improve, and only then can you learn from your mistakes.

Step out of your comfort zone

Once a niche has been established, it can be tempting to not explore further spheres of writing. However, one’s comfort zone is where their growth is stunted, and sometimes even stops entirely. Constantly strive for newer ideas and areas to explore. It is relatively easier to start with topics that are not completely different from what you usually write about. To exemplify, if you love to write about gaming, gradually shifting to VR (virtual reality) can be a great idea to begin with.

Write for fun

There exists no job that will sustain itself if you do not enjoy the process at all. Writing has several potential career paths but it also an exquisite form of art and a way to express oneself. Studies have shown that writing daily in journals can be beneficial for your mental health by reducing high-stress levels, and is hence a great way to stay in touch with one’s emotions while also acquiring skills and developing competency.

Ditch the perfectionism

Perfection is a myth and only stops you from achieving things by planting self-doubt in our heads. It is a well-known and notorious fact that quality is always more crucial than quantity, but it is interesting to note that the exact opposite is true when starting out with a new passion. What matters initially is not how great your writing style, vocabulary, and sentence structure is, but how dedicated and determined you are to keep getting better at it by striving for more. Producing 2 quality articles in a week is certainly significantly better than producing 5 mediocre ones, but one has to accept that work with impeccable qualities requires immense investment with long durations of time. Pressurizing yourself to achieve that level of prodigiousness during the initial stages of skill development is counter productive because it is well established that it is not possible, and the additional stress will prevent you from producing any mediocre content as well.  To conclude, one must apply a “something is better than nothing approach” while starting new.

Find a balance (distractions vs inspiration)

As an artist, anything can be an inspiration, which is immensely advantageous. One can write about anything and explore any subject:

  • common topics such as hobbies like cooking, gaming, etc.
  • certain less explored and taboo topics such as mental health, drugs, etc.
  • controversial topics like feminism, politics, abortion, etc.

However, one should also be familiar with the subtle differences between getting inspired and getting distracted. A lot of times, artists tend to get caught up in a creative block where they put in efforts to make themselves feel better by labeling anything as “work”. Since art involves a lot of thinking, the artist’s thoughts are an integral part of creation and the fact that they are intangible can often create problems. The solution is to be true to oneself and work on developing overall time management and work ethic.

Conclusion

Conclusively, influential writing is an art and one must strive to be better at every day in order to make a stronger impression in their professional, personal, and every other aspect of their lives.

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