Writing to Be Understood What Works and Why by Anne Janzer

“Principally, the same thing that makes you a good speaker makes you a good writer. It has to do with your relationship with the audience. Communication is about being present with your audience–whether it’s a real one standing before you or a virtual audience that you imagine.”
ーAnne Janzer, Writing to be understood. What works and why
Surprisingly, this book makes me see the nonfiction reading in the whole new ways and it will be forever changed. I can see how the writers structure their writing as I read nonfiction books or information articles thanks to this book. It is such a great manual for learning how to copywriting or writing nonfiction. There are many great writing formulas, methods for writing and a lot of xray examples from the famous writers like Malcolm Gladwell, Hope Jahren (Lab Girl), Daniel Pink, Dr. Steven Sloman, Nir Eyal, and John Oliver.
✰Here are some of the key take away I’d learned from this book.
  • Who are your readers? Know your audience. Identify ideal readers. Your audience never everyone. Have a specific audience. Write for people.
  • What’s going on in the reader’s brain? Get to know your readers. Connect with them. Engage. Having a clear understanding of your audience makes you a more effective writer.
  • How much do the reader need to know? Simplify vs oversimplify. Decide what to include and what not. Cut or relocate.
  • How to explain abstract ideas? Activate the reader’s curiosity. Reduce unnecessary cognitive load. Illustrate the abstract with concrete examples. Stay with key ideas and seasoning with data.
  • Insert analogy. Develop stories because readers remember stories, not data.
  • Effective repetition. Repeat with intention and value.
  • How to not be boring. Voice, tone, and style. What tone do you want to convey? Conversational writing. Words of choice. Writing structures.
  • Create images and imaginary. Grab the readers’s attention and interest. Use metaphor and analogy. Connect.
  • Credibility, humanity, humility, and humor.
The most important thing I think is to develop your own writing style. Writing takes a lot of practice, self-reflection and the willingness to experiment. I think that will help us adjust our own style, enhance our creativity, connect more deeply with the readers. So, experiment, explore, and see how your writing lands with the readers. With practice, you may discover new depth in your writing, and your style may evolve.
Although I didn’t plan to be a writer or write anything serious but as I like to write, such as book learning, or writing up funny thoughts, I want to be able to write better. This book is a great caption to what I need to learn and granted, I can also implement this writing formula for my professional work like writing proposal and presentation.
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