3 Science-Backed Strategies to Improve the Quality of Your Writing
Simple strategies to make your writing shine.
As in water, every single change has a ripple effect reaching every part. In the same way, an improvement in one area of your life permeates other aspects of your life.
This is because every aspect of your life is interlinked with the other.
That's why nothing succeeds like success. And nothing fails like failure.
For instance, a sense of fulfillment in business positively impacts your relationships. You carry the positive energy over to your relationship by default. Because like salt and water, where a man goes, his feelings go.
That means that improving the quality of your writing goes far beyond making you a better writer; it makes you a better person. It improves other areas of your life.
If you a writer, for instance, you probably read a lot. And science has shown that those who read live longer.
"Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 23-month survival advantage at the point of 80% survival in the unadjusted model. A survival advantage persisted after adjustment for all covariates including age, sex, race, education, comorbidities, self-rated health, wealth, marital status, and depression. Indicating book readers experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow-up compared to non-book readers.”- A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity.
If you think well, you will write well and if write and think well, you will live well. For as a man thinks in his heart, so he becomes.
Here are the four ways to help you improve the quality of your writing.
Effectively persuade with words
Writing is about persuading your reader with words. Irrespective of the aim you want to achieve, persuasion is the success ingredient of success in writing.
And since the only tool you have is words, there is no better way to persuade than to use the right words to evoke the appropriate emotions from the minds of your readers.
Let’s say, for instance, you want to make your readers believe in the authenticity of the strategies you are offering in your article, words like science-backed, scientifically proven, researched-based coming before the method will do the magic.
Words like that evoke a sense of trust and belief even before they click to find out what those methods are. The minds of readers are already opened to receive and apply what you have to say.
Having a reputable publication publish your work will double the level of trust in the article and the writer, of course.
If you want to conduct an internal word search, type slower
"Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process," said Srdan Medimorec, a cognitive psychologist from the University of Waterloo. "It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them."
The authors of the study–which is published in the British Journal of Psychology–believe that by being forced to slow down when typing, writers enjoy greater time to conduct an internal word search.
If you can persuade, you win; if you can’t, you lose. It all begins by learning to type slower. If you type slower, you will find the right words to drive the appropriate emotions. Try it.
Prevent cognitive drain
If there is anything you should avoid during your creative process, it is being distracted. The cost of distraction is enormous.
One experience comes to mind. I was preparing the first draft of a story to apply for a publication. During the process, I got a mail notification from a site I have subscribed to their weekly newsletter. Because some of their headlines are powerful, I hopped in to check for a cool template from the report digest. One title hooked me. It was about the impact of pornography on teenagers.
I clicked and started to read. At a point, the writer linked a cartoon pornography site. At first, I read past it, then I felt like, “I haven’t quite heard of that before, I clicked and that was it. I couldn’t find myself anymore. When I returned, about an hour later, I couldn’t complete the article, neither could I continue the draft.
Distraction reduces our mental capacity to complete the task at hand. The mere presence of it is enough to reduce your cognitive capacity.
To date, the biggest of those distractions is your smartphone.
“We see a linear trend that suggests that as the smartphone becomes more noticeable, participants' available cognitive capacity decreases," says one of the researchers, Adrian Ward.
Keeping your smartphone around during a creative session is a mental drain.
“Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but that process – the process of requiring yourself to not think about something – uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. It’s a brain drain."
If you want to avoid cognitive drain, keep your phone in a different room. You will have more cognitive resources to complete your writing tasks better and faster.
Leap years ahead of your peers
To write is one thing, but to write something worth people’s time is completely another thing.
People don’t read content because reading is their hobby. The newspaper would have been a better option. It comes in volumes that can occupy a reader 24/7.
Well, should in case you are not aware, people read articles essentially for self-improvement. It can be,
- Financial improvement;
- Improvement in physical health;
- Improvement in their relationship;
- Improvement in their marriage;
- Improvement in their business;
- Improvement in their [Just anything relevant to them] including their intelligence, public speaking skills, writing, career, etc.
That’s why people go for content instead of reading newspapers.
As a writer, always remember this caveat: people read for life change — not for information.
Writing that kind of content is a task. Along with being skilled, you must be resourceful to write content that helps people with their lives.
How to be a resourceful writer: connect to giant creators in your field.
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants
In the words of Ryan Holiday,
‘‘The best advice I’ve ever got about reading came from a secretive movie producer and talent manager who’d sold more than 100 million albums and done more than $1B in box office returns. He said to me one day, “Ryan, it’s not enough that you read a lot. To do great things, you have to read to lead.”
What he meant was that in an age where almost nobody reads, you can be forgiven for thinking that the simple act of picking up a book is revolutionary. It may be, but it’s not enough. Reading to lead means pushing yourself—reading books “above your level.”
In short, you know the books where the words blur together and you can’t understand what’s happening? Those are the books a leader needs to read. Reading to lead or learn requires that you treat your brain like the muscle that it is—lifting the subjects with the most tension and weight.”
With a breakdown of the technique he uses in digesting these kinds of books, Ryan concludes by saying,
“These are the techniques that have allowed me to leap years ahead of my peers. It’s how you strike out on your own and build strength instead of letting some personal trainer dictate what you can and can’t be lifting.”
For writers, reading articles from Farnam Street, Ryan Holiday’s blog, Mark Manson, and The Art of Manliness is highly recommended.
If you incorporate these strategies, there is no way the quality of your writing won’t shine.
I am Joshua Idegbere and this is my column. Stories with actionable tips to help you make the most of your life, career and relationships. Welcome!