Useful writing

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3 min read

Many of us were taught to be persuasive when we write. Those of you who went through the GCE ‘A’ Levels like I did might recall how we had to put choose the points to support our argument and come to a convincing conclusion.

This is partly why I have over a hundred drafts sitting in my Bear app. When I read, I write down my thoughts and these notes generally end up as an article. I also jot down points in my Bear notes when I watch videos or even when I talk to people. However, the perfectionist in me wants to edit the drafts and structure them in a way that would make what I’ve been taught is a good piece of writing.

Useful vs convincing

It helps to be able to lay down the points we want to make to put our point across. However, I’m starting to believe that it is more important to let readers take away something useful. You spend the time to read what I wrote. The very least I could do is to tell you something that you might already know but didn’t articulate it.

This belief stems from me reading articles by good writers. They don’t try to convince me of something. They put their facts and opinions down and leave it to me to make my own conclusions.

They share interesting ideas and articles that they come across. They share their though process and outcome. In other words, they let us take a peek in their minds. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn through this.

This is like watching people using an app or cooking on YouTube, provided they try to explain their though process. You pick up the small habits and tricks that they use, why they do that, and adopt or adapt it for yourself.

Empowering vs being right

They help me to connect ideas that I never considered were related. They inspire me to come up new thoughts and ideas. Sometimes they talk about things I already know, but the way they put it across or the analogies they use light a bulb in my head. Or they let me look at things in a new perspective that sparks more ideas.

Perhaps they mention a person or a topic that introduces me to new ideas, sometimes even unrelated to the topic on hand. Instead of trying to to convince me of their argument, they might actually swing me to their side when I make the connection or realisation on my own.

You might say, you prefer someone to tell you what you should think. I’ve already said my piece on that.

Write it down

When that happens, I should then put this down in writing so others might perhaps benefit in some ways. My points are already in my Bear app but I end up holding myself back from sharing immediately because I want to polish things.

I’m trying to share my drafts as soon as I finish writing them, even if they are not structured in a coherent manner. The point is to put my writing out there and iterate on it over time. It is not printed on paper or set in stone.

How often do you encounter useful writing? Do you share good things you read with others? Not a repost or retweet on social media. Actual sharing where you put down your thoughts along with it. Your two cents is worth more than you think.