GC Writers: What Resources/Tips Do You Have For Writers?

Big Daddy

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I reckon you have a sort of template in which you write each article, correct? Something like:

Why learn this -> How -> Example -> Proof -> Conclusion

What's yours? I'd appreciate very much your help. I want to become a more efficient and better writer and also I probably will have to be proficient at it because of work.

Other books, websites, trainings, routines, etc are welcomed too.
 

Richard

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Posting just so I can follow, haha.

Writing is something I struggle with and it's something I've been interested in improving for quite a while.

-Richard
 

Big Daddy

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I just spent 4.5 hours trying to write a 2,000 word article I have to write, and so far I have only have 400 unedited words.

I have at least five papers opened that I can draw citations from, but my head is just a mess. The style of stuff that I have to write is pretty much like Girlschase: anecdotal analysis + eventual academic citation to back up claims. Though I can supplement it with my own historical arguments, examples, hypothesis... just like an average Girlschase article.

I also don't know anything about writing styles guidelines.
 

Richard

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If we're talking academic articles I just write and write and write - stream of consciousness until my ideas are out.

Then, I go through and pick apart what is important or not and then condense it in another word document.

I have a project going on where I have to take research articles and write an analysis; the topic I chose was how MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy) and mADMS (maintenance antidepressant medications) stack up against other therapies/treatment options for recurrent depression.

For stuff like that, I take the main points from the articles/papers I have available and stream-of-consciousness my ideas and then go back through and condense down again. Yeah, though, I'm not a fan of writing directly from the start because your head will be a mess and your thoughts will jumble so I prefer to just start big and then funnel it down.

-Richard
 

Hector Papi Castillo

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First, unleash the Madman.

Write whatever comes to mind. Even if you find yourself writing in the most retarded way possible, just write it. It's usually better than you think and it's honest. What your problem is right now is you're trying to write for others. You're thinking how they will respond. However, if you understand your subject, you can write at length about it, easily. Otherwise, you don't understand it.

Keep the general outline you've given in the first post.

Introduction (Why this is important, if it's a niche argument or seems off, or a story to introduce the idea in real time) - > How (make this as step-based as you can) -> Examples (I like using stories and dialogue) -> A application of your theory/thinking to the examples ("see how I said to do X, but in my anecdote I made the mistake of doing Y?") -> Conclusion

A few amendments but that, yeah.

So after you've written your piece without stopping, then come back with the Janitor. Clean it up. Make sentences shorter when you can, clarify unclear sentences, simplify syntax, use prettier (but still accurate) words where you can, etc.

Hope that helps. Apparently this method is similar to what Steven King teaches in his book On Writing, so that might be worth a read. Chase always recommends it.

Hector
 

Regal Tiger

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Big Daddy said:
I just spent 4.5 hours trying to write a 2,000 word article I have to write, and so far I have only have 400 unedited words.

I have at least five papers opened that I can draw citations from, but my head is just a mess. The style of stuff that I have to write is pretty much like Girlschase: anecdotal analysis + eventual academic citation to back up claims. Though I can supplement it with my own historical arguments, examples, hypothesis... just like an average Girlschase article.

I also don't know anything about writing styles guidelines.


What are you trying to write? Blog post articles, copywriting, or academic writing?
 

Chase

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The most basic concept I use is

Hook --> Psychology --> How To + Examples --> Conclusion

So that's like "X technique does Y and Z for you with girls" (hook). Then "The reason X technique works is because of A and B principle" (psychology). Then "Here's how to do X technique" (how to + examples). Then a send off; either a recap, or a little extra bit about the article content.

Sometimes I'll reverse this middle parts to switch things up. How To first, then Psychology after. Or I'll do Malcolm Gladwell-style articles, where you take a story (yours or someone else's) and tell part of it, then discuss the main article content. Then tell more of the story, then more article content. Then more of the story, then more article content. You weave the story in and out with the content you present, which would be drier otherwise (people learn through stories).

The most effective articles are the ones where you repeatedly blow someone's mind. So you start off by highlighting some really weird thing. Like for instance, "Every guy says he'd never tolerate a woman who cheats on him. Yet so many guys get back together with women who cheat. You may have even done this yourself - only to kick yourself later. But if every guy swears up and down he'd never do this, why the heck do so many guys do it?" So now the reader is like huh, yeah, that's weird.

And then he will draw a conclusion, like, "Well, it must be that these guys are all pussies. That's why they take these chicks back." So you take the next thing the reader will conclude, and you blow his mind again on that. The next section will be something like "Here's an example of this super strong dude. Here's how strong he is. He's a firefighter who benches 300 lbs and was a minor MMA champion. He's had 3 children with two different women and gets babes left and right. He also runs his own business. And this guy STILL took his girl back after she cheated on him. Nobody in the world would call this guy weak going by any other measure. But he did it anyway."

At this point the reader is about to drown in cognitive dissonance, so you toss him a ring-of-life to grab onto. That could be an eye-opening scientific study: "In 2007, researchers from the University of Whatever discovered a fascinating fact about blah blah blah: that blah blah blah blah blah." Or it could be something else. Either way, you start to shed light on it. But it still doesn't connect all the dots for the reader; it just shows him that, don't worry dear reader, we WILL connect the dots... but first we need a few more dots on the board for us to connect.

Thus, you get this up and down flow of emotion as the guy goes through the article. He feels confused, then thinks he understands it, then gets confused again. Then feels as if it is slowly dawning on him. Then - wow! He's got it! Ha, it all makes sense now. Then there's a come-down where he gets to revel for a bit in this understanding he's now acquired, before you wrap up the piece.

One of the keys to the most interesting articles is you do not tie up all the loose ends until the very end of the article. You introduce new threads, circle back to previously mentioned ones, and eventually start to draw them all together. By the end of it, if you did a good job, the reader will say, "Man. I feel great, enlightened, and now this thing that never made sense before makes complete sense. And it even seems really simple now!" The conclusion satisfies, makes him feel good for reading, and sends him off with a smile on his face.

(there's a lot of overlap with sales copywriting, but also some key differences. e.g., for copywriting, you will generally introduce various things the reader will learn, and continually wet his whistle but not satisfy him. At the end of the pitch, if it was a good one, you've built it in such a way that the only way he can get satisfaction is to buy the product or service you are offering. Whereas you do not want to do this with essays, because if every essay ends in a sales pitch readers will burn out emotionally on your content and stop coming. So instead you want to end essays with a feeling of resolution and satisfaction. Interestingly, if you look at the most provocative/sensational news media articles, on both the left and the right, they end with neither a happy conclusion or a call to action. Instead, they leave the reader with a sense of general unease: the other side is gaining ground, is coming for you, is closing in - and is this really how we're going to let the story end? Will we just concede to the other side and let them win? Extremely divisive, but it's a great way to get more clicks on your website)

Chase
 

Big Daddy

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@ Chase, Hector,

Thanks for the tips homies.

Do you guys have a drill or routine for crafting the writing itself? Once I read Shakespeare copied by hand his favorite plays many times by hand. I hear it's common among great copywriters too. I might give it a try.

And also, do you have one for production, such as King's 2,000 word per day? I find amazing how you continue to put 2,000 ready words out many times a week, weeks on end.

(Chase, I guess this is more directed at you as I haven't yet seen Hector citing consistently studies in his writings, but...) Do you have a objective way of preventing a given article to turn into an academic paper?

My writing style is somewhat close to yours, and sometimes I feel like I'm writing a paper... then I throw some wittiness for good measure to air it out, but naturally shit doesn't work like that lol My writing feels more like a meta-analysis of my findings than trying to inform someone.
 
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