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Writing: The Basics in the Real World

Writing is one of the most powerful ways of communicating in the world today. The written word can be seen and heard just about everywhere you look. That’s why understanding the craft of writing, even at a basic level, is so important. Not only will it allow you to get your point across more quickly, but it will also make it easier to understand other points of view in the conversation. Here are a few foundational tips on creating a solid piece of writing, whether it is for personal, business, or educational use.

Build the Framework

To be understood, a written piece should have a logical framework that it is built upon. In school, we learned that sentences have specific structures. A question is usually phrased in a certain way. A declarative sentence will usually follow the same basic format of “subject,” followed by “verb” and then “object or description”. For example, the sentence “The car is red.” follows this basic framework. As a general rule, you wouldn’t say “Red the car is.” or “The red is a car.” because you know that wouldn’t make sense. You know that because of the convention.

Writing on a larger scale follows the same basic principles. Each piece of writing you do should have an overarching theme to it—a point you want to convey, or information that you want to get across. For example, the theme of this article is the essential tools needed for persuasive writing. By the end of this article, if everything goes according to plan, you should have in your possession the tools required to write effectively.

On a slightly smaller scale, each paragraph should contain a subject, information to support or disprove that subject, and a conclusion, or perhaps a tie into the next section. The framework from each part of the blog, article, or paper should flow smoothly from one idea to the next, each supporting each other.

One of the easiest ways to create such a framework is to create a detailed outline of what you’re going to write. You don’t have to go into details, just the basics of the subject area that you’re covering.

Fill in the Details

Once you have the basic framework of what you’re writing about, the next step is to fill in the details to give your writing a bit more life. How you go about this depends on the style of writing, but the basics are all very similar. Let’s take a second look at the idea of the paragraph.

Just as a sentence contains one subject and one action (usually), a paragraph should focus on one concept. This is generally stated somewhere near the beginning of the section. Think of it as the paragraph’s declarative statement. The middle portion of the paragraph is then usually designated as a place where you supply additional information, supportive data, or possible arguments against the main subject. And finally, the last sentence of the paragraph is usually one of two things – a restatement of the paragraph’s central topic, or a tie into the following section.

So let’s step back for a moment and take a look at the two previous paragraphs. Do they follow that basic format? Although it is subtle, they do. The concept of the first paragraph is to fill in the details of the framework. The “support” sentences indicate that how that is accomplished can vary, but the basics are still similar. And finally, the last sentence serves as a lead in to the next paragraph. Everything flows together nicely and logically, making the writing easier to understand.

Keep it Simple

One of the easiest ways to lose your audience is to present ideas in a way that is too complicated. It’s not that an average person wouldn’t be able to understand complex topics, merely that an average person may not strive to. Let’s face it. There are a lot of different ideas bombarding us each day. Why should anyone listen to your vision or read what you wrote?

Well, because it is essential. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be writing it. So instead of making an idea that may seem simple to you more complex with unnecessary details, focus on what is essential. What exactly are you trying to make your audience understand? Here’s a hypothetical example.

You’ve written a presentation for a board of directors on a new tool and die machine that allows for the manufacture of precision-crafted bolts at twice the speed of the competitor. Now you could go into how the machine works, what materials it uses, and how it can regulate the use of lubricants to make a more efficient machine. But would all that information be necessary? Possibly, but probably not. If you were writing a presentation for the technicians that would be operating the machine, more detail would be warranted. But in the case of a board of directors, merely showing evidence of it’s greater efficiency would probably suffice.

In the real world, writing is like any other skill. It takes knowledge, practice, and dedication to become good at it. It won’t happen overnight, but if you keep these basic concepts in mind, excellent writing is certainly in your future.

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