7 Unexpected Lessons That Changed The Way I Write

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A few years ago, I took a writing course to learn how to write better. The idea was that the more you wrote, the better your skills would get and eventually become an expert at it. I didn’t realize at first that something else was happening… My work is consistently rated as one of my strongest skillsets by hiring managers for companies such as Google, Facebook and Forbes Media where they ask me to apply online using this skill set on their job posting sites.

The “handwriting” is a lesson that has changed the way I write. The reason why it’s important to start writing with your hands, is because you will be more creative and have better ideas when you do so. This is because your brain can’t process what you’re thinking if it’s just in your head.

7 Unexpected Lessons That Changed The Way I Write

If you’ve ever rushed out of the shower to scribble down an idea or discovered a cent in a birthday cake as a child, you know how the finest ideas appear out of nowhere.

For me, writing has been a lot like that.

Lectures, conferences, and seminars don’t always have the greatest effect.

It’s the apparently minor things that make the biggest difference.

Here are seven real-life instances of this principle in action — seven utterly unexpected things I’ve learned along the road that have unquestionably improved my writing.

I hope they treat you the same way!

1. One question that improves your writing

When discussing a title, an older journalist friend asked me this question, and I’ve used it ever since. The following is how it works:

Ask yourself, “So what?” every time you sit down to compose anything. And keep asking that question until you’ve gotten to the heart of what the reader is getting out of it.


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“It’s a Mazda MX-5 Miata from 2022.” So, what’s the point?

“Mazda has announced the launch of the MX-5 Miata in 2022…” So, what’s the point?

The final version will be determined by your target audience and their priorities. If you’re talking to academics, your response will be different than if you’re talking to new mums. But the most essential thing is that you discover it.

“So what?” I’ve discovered is a useful question to ask myself. My text has become more effective and succinct until I get to the true gem of what it is that genuinely matters about the issue.

And it’s made me a better communicator in general.

2. There’s a Formula That Works

When you chat to well-known authors, you’ll notice that they all have their own approach to the writing process.

While some people work on instinct, others develop a formula or approach and use it over and over again, adapting it to new situations.

I’ve collected a few throughout the years, but I’ve also borrowed a couple.

Lists are an excellent example, and they may be made in a variety of ways:


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  • From the simplest to the longest character count, each one is visually beautiful.
  • Memory-based: The most significant items are mentioned first. Last on the list is the most well-remembered thing.
  • Patterns include the power of three, the popularity of seven, and so on.
  • Logical order, also known as procedural order, is the order in which things happen.
  • Order of decision-making: Make choices based on the anchoring bias (eg.: Placing the product you want to sell most often in the middle.).

However, there is another option.

A prominent comedy writer gave some thoughts on what made Letterman’s top ten lists so popular a few years back.

The first step, he said, was to write each thing as a stand-alone joke with a punchline. The sixth joke was likewise written to elicit a longer laugh, allowing the team to adjust the images on the displays.

Will these pointers help you create excellent business content? No, not at all. They did, however, teach me to consider the content’s utility carefully.

I pay special attention to the appearance of the text on the page.

I purposefully structure lists using methods other than the traditional formulae. I also utilize content to fill in gaps in design or the consumer experience.

Above all, I explore and test to develop formulae that work for a certain audience and that I can utilize to get consistent results.

3. Everything You’ve Ever Taught Yourself About Writing Is False

Your professors were probably too preoccupied with other things to read your high-school rendition of a five-paragraph essay.

That’s why you were taught in school to display your knowledge in a method that was fast and simple to grade.

Your readers, on the other hand, are not your instructors.

Readers aren’t interested in learning what you learnt (generally), and they aren’t tasked with grading 50+ papers. So, why would you write for two audiences in the same way?

You don’t have it.

This is one of the greatest explanations I’ve ever seen. Which is the right answer?

7-Unexpected-Lessons-That-Changed-The-Way-I-WriteNovember 2021, screenshot from Grammarly.com

The first phrase is the best option if you’re writing for a cat website.


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If you’re talking to dog lovers, the second option is preferable.

Why? Because dog owners are concerned about their pets.

1639157470_290_7-Unexpected-Lessons-That-Changed-The-Way-I-WriteNovember 2021, screenshot from Grammarly.com

If you’re a teacher or a conventional writer, you could be offended. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it works. When your aim is money rather than grades, arbitrary writing standards devised by some 500-year-old men are meaningless.

When we read, we pay attention to the topic of a sentence and the elements stated first. You may stress what’s relevant to the reader and establish a link by changing the sentence form.


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But keep in mind that you can’t just violate the rules anytime you want. It’s crucial to consider the context.

When writing a blog post, I’m considerably more inclined to violate the norms and write in a more conversational tone than when preparing documentation for investors.

And if you take the time to learn about your target audience, you’ll know when, when, and how to violate the rules.

(Bribing your editor is also beneficial.) Ours are fantastic and perform an outstanding job!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Flattery and milk chocolate make me shamefully vulnerable. 

4. Language and music both need a sense of rhythm.

I was a musician long before I became a writer.

I learnt the importance of tension, release, phrasing, and the proper use of notes to convey an idea or tell a tale. I quickly realized that music was much more than simply a tale without words.

Music tells a hidden narrative to the soul of the listener, creating a new universe that neither the artist nor the listener has ever seen.


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This is supported by scientific evidence.

The audience’s respiration and physiological reactions are timed to the music during a performance. The artists’ bodies are physically, intellectually, and biologically in harmony with the music and each other.

As a consequence, everyone has a communal moment of communication and a shared experience that is both the same and distinct.

The same effects may be achieved via storytelling.

  • Measures are used to categorize notes in music.
  • Measures are grouped together to form phrases.
  • In order to convey a tale, sentences are formed into themes.
  • Letters are grouped into words in writing.
  • Sentences are made up of words.
  • To describe a tale, sentences are organized into paragraphs.

Make use of it. Use tension and release, words, themes, and rhythms in your writing to create a tale.

Make things flow in a rhythmic pattern. If it doesn’t, change the language until it does.

Most essential, even if you’re merely informing the world about a new sort of window caulking, make sure your work has soul.

If you’re enthusiastic about what you do, your readers will be as well.


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You’ll come out as honest and human at the very least. Perhaps a bit different, but that’s ok as well.

5. Double-check that you’re who you say you are.

When you listen to enough skilled classical musicians, you can tell the difference between those who are brilliant at what they do and those who are instinctively enthusiastic about it.

Take a look at a gymnastics competition. Even if two competitors do the identical performance perfectly, one will nearly always get a better score.


While both competitors had technically solid performances, the one who is fully committed to the sport will look at the appropriate judge, in the right manner, at the right moment.

They almost instinctively point their fingers and bend their toes to produce faultless lines with just a touch of calm elegance that pulls the judge in and creates an emotional connection that makes the difference.

That perfectly pointed toe or well-timed gaze is required for your writing.

It need you, your enthusiasm, and your own voice to place the tiny touches on the words that will let the reader connect with you.


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6. You Have the Option To Be Great

I’m a person who is always busy. I’m always working on something new.

I’m always catching up or beginning something new if I’m not working on anything. And it’s effective.

At least, that’s how I interpreted it.

A trustworthy professor and friend informed me at one of these “do it all now” moments:

“Stop doing everything else.” It will get simpler if you concentrate on what you do best.

Rather of putting 100 percent into one activity and 100 percent into another, focus on the thing you excel at.

You’ll see a 300 percent improvement in your performance. Consider it in terms of economies of scale.”

I first disagreed, but shortly understood that he was correct.

There was some short-term discomfort, but it finally paid off. And it paid off in ways I could never have imagined when sleeping in the back row of a lecture hall.

Websites, authors, and marketers spend countless hours attempting to be all things to all people while keeping all the balls in the air. They lose track of what they’re excellent at and never discover it since they never put in the effort.


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They dabble with design, development, business administration, and a slew of other things that others might handle considerably better.

This might include keeping to a certain tone, style, product, or content type for you. Make sure you know what it is, and stick to it, whatever it is or how many pieces of content you have planned.

7. Our Minds Aren’t All That Intelligent

1639157472_308_7-Unexpected-Lessons-That-Changed-The-Way-I-WriteNovember 2021, screenshot from Google Search Results

Your brain made a mistake if you clicked headlines like these (or if you’re reading this page right now). Your brain, you see, has two modes: autopilot and manual.


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When confronted with a difficult situation, you’ll collect information and thoroughly study it before making a conclusion. When you’re doing a typical activity, your brain goes into autopilot mode, which is similar to mental scripts or macros.

It accomplishes this primarily for the sake of efficiency and precision. At least, that’s the plan.

However, it may occasionally go tragically wrong.

Those titles up there? Survivorship bias may be shown in each of these cases.

Survivorship bias happens when you concentrate only on the items that passed some arbitrary test or threshold and ignore everything else.

We overlook failures in favor of triumphs, mix correlation with causation, and exaggerate predicted outcomes.

1639157473_257_7-Unexpected-Lessons-That-Changed-The-Way-I-WriteNovember 2021, as seen on CNBC.

If you follow the procedures outlined in the title samples, you may achieve the same outcomes as the author. But there’s a catch:

1639157474_253_7-Unexpected-Lessons-That-Changed-The-Way-I-WriteNovember 2021, as seen on CNBC.

The clickbait material omits details regarding the author’s assistance, failures, knowledge, luck, and other advantages that contributed to his achievement.


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For their first job, not everyone is offered a $50,000 salary. Even fewer people are able to save 35-40% of their income.

Many individuals cannot afford an education, do not come from financially secure households, and are unable to split expenses or get a $20,000 raise in a year.

There are also no references to losses or unsuccessful investments.

Everyone is unique. Few readers will be able to take advantage of all of these benefits, but that won’t stop many of them from trying.

The fallacy of survival bias isn’t the only one. We tend to give greater weight to what we’ve just heard or what has elicited the greatest emotion in us.

Repeating a statement helps us to believe it is more accurate. And anchoring bias has an impact on the choice we choose as the best.

Understanding flaws and biases like these may greatly enhance replies to your material from the standpoint of a writer.

Knowing how to recognize biases in your organization might be enough to save you from purchasing software you don’t need or making unsafe investments.


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Always be on the lookout

Assembly line mechanics, sports on TV, a valued buddy, an unrelated class…

Even if something doesn’t expressly mention writing, it may still help you develop. Be on the lookout for them, and be willing to attempt and test new things.

It may result in an unconventional method, technique, or writing style, but isn’t that the goal? To make a statement and be unique.

Additional Information:


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