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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]

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    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

    There’s No Perfect Family, but a Happy Family Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect The One Technique You Need to Turn Boring Writing into Compelling Words Overcoming Seasonal Depression Through Outdoor Activities How Students Can Combat Stress, Depression, and Anxiety [TIMELY TOPIC] Helpful Halloween Safety Tips for Everyone

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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