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The One Technique You Need to Turn Boring Writing into Compelling Words

The One Technique You Need to Turn Boring Writing into Compelling Words

Have you ever read an article or blog post so compelling, so impactful that it left you feeling motivated to change something about your life? When the words of an author really resonate, they promote trust in the reader, which is oftentimes based on their logic and credibility. They may even trigger an emotional response.

All of these phenomenons fall under the umbrella of persuasive writing.

Persuasive writing is one of the most common writing styles in the world. It’s also an art form. The main purpose of persuasive writing is to convince the audience that the opinion of the author is correct regarding a specific idea or set of ideas.

    So what makes the Rhetorical Triangle?

    The use of rhetoric within writing is an absolutely crucial step towards persuading the reader. The word rhetoric can be defined as a set of compositional techniques that writers use to fascinate readers. When used effectively, those reading will be able to fully connect with what’s being presented to them; they will clearly understand all the points and feel connected.

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    The three sides of the Rhetorical Triangle correlate with a different impact point for the reader. In order to be a truly comprehensive writer, it’s important to account for each side of the triangle.

    1. Ethos: the Writer

    Whether or not your audience realizes it, they want to know your intentions as a writer. Comprehending a speaker’s motives is an instinctual desire for readers.

    It’s the writer’s job to make sure that what they project is concise and articulate. Are you trying to educate, inform, entertain, or motivate? Stating the intended purpose, from a writer’s standpoint, is a fundamental first step to effective writing.

    The audience is going to want to understand who you are as a writer. What makes you credible, and why should they listen to what you have to say?

    Furthermore, an LSU resource[1] explains the role of a writer’s ethos:

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    “Ethos is what defines you as a writer and your character. It can be thought of as the role of the writer in the argument, how credible their argument is, as well as ethics.”

    2. Pathos: the Audience

    In order to write pieces that really resonate, writers must have a clear understanding of who exactly they are writing for. It’s important to ask yourself the following questions about an expected audience:

    • What is your audience expecting to hear from you?
    • In what ways will your writing be useful/helpful to the intended audience?
    • What similarities will an ideal audience share?

    As a means of further connecting with an audience, the idea of pathos should be utilized. Pathos is the idea of gauging an emotional response within an audience. Ask yourself what emotions are ideal to instill. Do you want to tug at your reader’s heartstrings, or channel support by getting an audience excited or riled up?

    3. Logos: the Context

    Lastly, keep the context of any piece of writing in mind. Readers will view this with a critical eye and will be asking themselves questions, either implicitly or subconsciously. Keep in mind:

    • What other timely events, circumstances are relevant?
    • What are all other sides and counter-arguments to your perspective?
    • Is there outside evidence that supports claims made in your writing?

    This all connects directly with the idea of logos, which relies on the extent of logical thinking within writing. A piece of writing that features clearly constructed points and intelligent insight will greatly appeal to an audience’s logos.

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    Man, it’s hard to follow the Rhetorical Triangle!

    Addressing each side of the Rhetorical Triangle isn’t always easy and may require more attention to detail than you are used to. But it’s possible for anyone to produce engaging pieces of writing. In this case, the old adage is true: practice makes perfect. The more you think about each point of the triangle, the more second-nature this process will become.

    Why is it so important to inject the Rhetorical Triangle into my writing?

    There are countless reasons to always keep all sides of the Rhetorical Triangle in mind as a writer. First and foremost, your writing will fall short and not be credible if it doesn’t encompass each part of the triangle. And this must be done in a balanced fashion.

    For example, if a piece of writing is far too heavily focused on statistics and hard figures, but doesn’t offer any insight into why the author is credible or invoke any emotional responses, it may come off as robotic, lacking a “human quality.” Readers may become bored or become put off when writing only focuses on logos.

    Balancing each side of the Rhetorical Triangle is a must for effective writing. Whether writing is a career focus or side-hustle gig, there are many advantageous benefits for creating content that is well-shaped.[2]

    The steps to effectively including the Rhetorical Triangle are highlighted fully in an article titled The Rhetorical Triangle: Making Your Writing Credible, Appealing, and Logical:[3]

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    Step One: Answer the audience’s question, ‘Is the source credible?’ Fully consider the impact your credibility has on your message. Failing to do so risks leaving your audience unconvinced.

    Step Two: Answer the audience’s hidden question, ‘Is this person trying to manipulate me?’ Fully consider your audience; otherwise they may feel disconnected and the message will be lost. Appeal to their emotions where this is appropriate and honest.

    Step Three: Answer the audience’s question, ‘Is the presentation logical?’ Fully consider the context of your message. And make sure you deliver it with a solid appeal to reason.”

    When you fully embrace and utilize these rhetorical strategies you’re writing will truly stand out.[4] You’ll become a more effective, marketable writer. You’re audience will connect with your work, and are much more likely to engage in comments sections and through social media shares.[5]

    A major reason that writers love what they do stems from the feelings of flexibility and how writing promotes work that is genuinely passionate. Listed as one of the top 5 work-at-home careers, writing (especially freelancer-driven writing) creates an atmosphere of workplace freedom.[6]

    With practice, anyone can work from home like a boss.[7] How would this impact your life? What would you do if you had total control of your schedule? How much or how little would you work in an ideal world?

    Reference

    More by this author

    Robert Parmer

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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