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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 April 19, 2021

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

    The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

    Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

    In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

    When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

    Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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    1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

    When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

    As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

    That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

    The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

    What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

    Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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    There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

    So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

    2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

    When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

    No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

    3. Move Your Body

    A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

    It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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    So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

    4. Connect With Another Person

    Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

    One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

    Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

    5. Use Your Imagination

    When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

    That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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    And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

    Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

    Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

    More on the Importance of Taking a Break

    Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

    Reference

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