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Writing Big Ideas – Don’t sweat the small stuff

Like any pursuit, writing, or at least writing well is a skill that needs constant honing and practice to perfect. Even an experienced writer with many years experience will tell you that they are not the finished article and are still learning their trade with every assignment. There are however some basic rules that you can follow to help give clarity to your writing.

This article will provide some hints and tips for writers who are tasked to writing about big ideas. Writing about complicated theories and concepts is a skill, but one that you can develop with a little dedication. A skill that will stand you in good stead when writing everything from magazine articles,  books, direct mail sales letter, speeches, business correspondence, and of course blog posts. The key message being this, don’t sweat the small stuff.

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Photo courtesy of thekeithhall(CC Attribution)

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

It sounds easy doesn’t it but what does it mean in a writing context?

Well, when writing about an issue that is important to the writer or highly complex, it can be quite easy to over explain and become overly detailed in your writing. Often to the point that the big idea you are writing about becomes diluted by clunky prose that alienates the reader and distracts from the issue you are trying to tackle.

To avoid falling into this pitfall the key is to not sweat the small stuff. To help you achieve this goal, there is one key message that you should remember.

Writing well is good thinking expressed with clarity

It’s that simple. Whatever you are writing about, no matter how complex, it is essential that you take the issue and write about it clearly. If you over rationalise the issue you are in danger of writing in an overly academic tone that your readers will find difficult and tiring. Instead, you should aim to take the key points of the issue and write about it in an engaging way that will emotionally compel the reader to continue to the end.

The goal is to get your reader to have a ‘Eureka’ moment in which they think ‘Wow, i never thought of that before’

Once you have managed to engage your reader emotionally, only then can you engage their ‘rational’ mind. By ‘sweating the small stuff’ and getting bogged down in facts too early, you will never open up your reader to that all important ‘Eureka’ moment.

Once you have achieved this, your next goal is to support your idea by providing rational proof that what you are arguing is in fact true.

You can supply this proof through:

  • Presenting research you have found

  • Anecdotal evidence that appeals to readers by ‘showing’ how your idea works through story telling.

  • Social proof in the form of testimonials or quotes from others.

By not ‘sweating the small stuff’ but writing in an emotionally engaging and clear manner you are half way their. Next you need to support your writing with proof but not to the point where your tone or message is lost. Doing this will ensure your writing on big ideas packs a lot more punch.

Remember though, with writing, practise makes perfect so write, write, write!

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