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Monday, 31 October 2016

Persuasive Writing

From my other blog: 2 June 2015

I'm currently helping Jeanille prepare for some English testing which will help her as she continues to follow her dream. I'm very proud of her for chasing her dream, much as I am proud of anyone who chases their dream (I'm just especially proud of her for the obvious reasons). As part of this English testing she has to learn how to write better persuasive pieces. This is something that I've often worked on with students during my placements and so it's something I wanted to write a blog post about.

Obviously it's important for me to note that there are plenty of other and better resources for you to learn how to write persuasively. I merely want to share my own unique methods of constructing arguments.

1.     The first step for me is to always consider my intended audience. This revolves entirely around the idea of empathy. I want to use empathy to consider how my audience will respond to what I am saying. I would estimate that ninety percent of the time if you hit your audience with the right emotional tugs you can manipulate them to feel the way you want them to. And persuasive writing is essentially that: manipulation of the heartstrings. It's something that the persuasive writer must enjoy and attempt - reading the audience and then working out a series of arguments and counter-arguments that will target them more closely.

2. The second step is to consider what type of style I should adopt. This involves considering the question of whether I am writing a persuasive piece on the internet or for friends, creating a mini-essay, or writing academically. Each of these involves different methods, registers and lexicons that I need to be using in a calculated method (i.e. I would not be as colloquial in an academic essay as in this piece).

3. The third step involves actually writing the persuasive piece once all the thinking about how to respond has been considered. Trust me, however, most writing is all about the thinking and pre-planning. Even something as spontaneous as writing of this sort is the result of half-cooked ideas which have been marinating in the brain until they are baked to perfection.
This is where you structure your piece clearly, working out the techniques that you want to use (I tend to find simile, metaphor, alliteration and allusive, emotive language the best myself) and creating something that flows together neatly. No matter what you are writing about, the best persuasive writing (or any writing) flows in a polished fashion. This is also the reason why it is best to edit your work when you are finished. Even the best authors edit their work thoroughly once finished.

4. In short, persuasive writing is all about appearing as if you have the most reasonable idea to say in any discussion. The question of whether you truly have the most reasonable argument is another issue. It's about bluffing your audience, manipulating them to agree with you and to suspend their cynicism. This of course is why there is one final thing which I must point out to you about persuasive writing. The key element of persuasive writing is to be self-aware and self-informed even before you begin writing. You need to understand your own points of view on various issues, and you need to be able to shift that point of view to argue for issues you may not agree with through empathy. Until you understand an issue from both sides you cannot properly argue the issue. And so, as with most writing, it is understanding that plays a key role in the final product.