LEADERSHIP LAB: The Craft of Writing Effectively - Deepstash

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Your essay must be valuable to your readers

Your essay must be valuable to your readers

Your job as a writer is not to convey your ideas, but to change the readers' ideas. As such, your essay needs to be clear, organized and persuasive, but above all else it has to be valuable to your readers. Its job is to help a reader understand better something they want to understand well.

Things to keep in mind when writing:

  • Who am I writing for?
  • How does my essay change the way they see the world? To inform? To inspire?
  • How is my writing valuable?

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Open your essay with a problem your readers care about

Open your essay with a problem your readers care about

Don't follow the standard essay structure from school, where you open with a background overview and definitions, and then move on to your thesis. This reads like "Here is what the community agrees upon and what I'm adding to it", which doesn't create any tension for your readers and doesn't make them want to read your essay.

Instead, open with a problem your readers care about (they either have it or they care enough about it), creating tension around it and highlighting its cost/benefits, and then follow with your solution.

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Publishing an academic paper in your domain

Publishing an academic paper in your domain

To make your research paper valuable you must challenge the status quo in a way that's agreed upon in your community. Look at important papers in your domain and identify the words they've used to challenge the status quo. Make a list of these words and use them in your writing.

Example words:

  • To signal you're addressing an important problem: widely, accepted, reported
  • To challenge existing ideas: nonetheless, however, although, but, inconsistent

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