Very often I find my Self tired or uninspired by blog posts about blog posting. Yet, I do find that it is necessary to imbibe and scour the thoughts of successful writers of this new media. Granted, our dear creator did not see fit to create all writers with equal portions of skill, and more than not, a success in a Capitalism is not based on talent or merit, but popular appeal, market attention, and/or fill in your own blanks. So, over the years, I’ve grown to scan posts before I actually read them, in hopes that they will contain 5 of the most salient elements I need to be satiated as a reader. Given these elements work to parch my needs as a reader, I’ve grown to demand that these ingredients be found in all of my written dishes.
1) Emotional Appeal
It helps to be passionate about the topic you are discussing. Even more, it helps to know your audience well enough to know what they are passionate about. One of the devices in a writer’s tool kit should be the ability to make interesting connections, or analogy. This is at root of the poet’s simile or metaphor. Often it does not need to be very pronounced, in fact, it is better to be nuanced. Much of the success of the writing of the Boondocks is Aaron McGruder and his team’s ability connect what is seemingly unrelated in very comical and appealing ways. His use of a character, Lil’ Milton, that alludes to a real life child and his grandmother and using that news story alongside a theme based on “Juice” and comparing Lil’ Milton to the role of Bishop made popular by the late great Tupac Shakur was a remarkable manner of connection and emotional appeal.
Did you see what I did there?
2) Logically Sound
Most of the writing we come across is an attempt to persuade. This means that the writing has to present an argument of one sort or the other. What I have noticed online in blogs is that many writers tend to lean on the ignorance or need to belong of their audience. This often makes for a logic that, although sound, not always cogent. Logic is the study of methods fr evaluating whether the premise of an argument adequately supports its conclusion. In this study, there are deductive arguments and inductive arguments. Deductive arguments are those arguments that we define as arguments composed of premises that guarantee the conclusion. Deductive arguments are arguments in which the premises are intended to make the conclusion more probable, without guaranteeing it. Now, there are also valid arguments where if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. Then there are invalid arguments, in which it is not necessarily true that if the premises are true, the conclusion is true. This leads to sound and unsound argumentation. A sound argument is a valid argument whereby all the premises are true. An unsound argument is one that either is invalid or has at least one false premise.
That being given, and writers expecting that their audiences agree with certain positions without question, can lead to a litany of posts and essays being very unsound. In my experience, what makes an argument invalid is usually a lack of information or a refusal to consider certain perspectives on a topic. The argument that some present in support of a post-racial USA is that racism no longer exists. Now, this demands a few definitions, that if not defined, or if simply presented along accepted lines of thought, will yield an invalid postulation.
I can handle contradictions. A part of logic is the ability to inject a contradiction into any argument. What I seek as a reader– and what I seek to present as a write — is an argument that reflects a well researched position. At least consider the most common oppositions to your presentation. I do not expect every piece written to be a bit of exceptional polemics, but I do expect that you’ve considered more positions than the one you are presenting.
3) Layered & Below The Surface Commentary
I did not expect such a smooth segue, but there it was. For more than just persuasive considerations, I seek works that dig beneath the obvious or the most common thoughts on a topic. I am a fairly well-read person, and I demand that it shows in my writing. When reading pieces that reflect no more than would could be gleaned at a barbershop, I quickly dismiss the writer as just writing for quantity purposes. I do not subscribe to the school of thought that demands that writers present materials that an 8th grader should be able to imbibe. I demand more of my Self as a reader, and thusly, I demand more of my readers. More importantly, I want to present more to my readers, and unless you are in the business of writing 8th grade fiction or textbooks, I would suggest you not treat your audience like teeny bops.
To be a good writer, I believe it begs a lot of reading. It also asks that I seek various sources of commentary on differing positions. Typically, those that I consider “beneath the surface” writers, are also the type of people that can suspend judgment and consider at least three completely different worldviews alongside their own. Although, I, like most people, find numbers sexy, I do not just seek quantified data, but also qualified data such as anecdotes and quotes from those that lend their perspectives to the topic. It just speaks volumes to me about how much a wrter appreciates their audience when they go the extra distance for them.
4) Sources Cited
In the same vein, do not just hurl data at me without considering how much I might trust you. Cite your sources. Not just because you were told to do so in school, not just because it is ethical, but because I might want to follow that same rabbit hole and see what goodies I might be allowed to find. Especially for those that consider them Selves “bloggers”. Links are the internet. Google is a megalithic empire because of links. Connect your readers to those that you are gleaning inspiration and knowledge from. Treat your readers like adults. Treat your readers like they have a well-developed system of critical thinking that would cause them to question your sources. Treat your readers like they have a refined sense of curiosity and might be wondering what shoulders your feet have stood on. Do not treat your readers like enemies you have to keep secrets from. Plus, it only makes your writing that much more professional and authoritative when you present your sources.
Humans are a very visual being. Our first set of writing communications were pictograms. Much of what is emotionally appealing is that ability to present visual cues, either through our vivid words or actual images or illustrations. Beyond logic and beyond layered presentations, we have to remember that life moves along a dynamic constant we refer to as time, and all of our present movements cascade into the future. We are escape artist by function. Regardless of the writing, it should take me out of my present space in some sort of fashion. Whether that be giving me action cues to improve my well-being, or to create a completely fantastic world that does not exist outside of the collective imagination: writing should move us from our present states.
I expect vivid words that lift life from the page. I expect brilliance of thought that details and explores the writer’s perspective. I want to read works that play with ideals I have not imagined. And in my desire to read such, I demand that I also write in such fashion.