Do you feel that your writing is letting you down? You know what to say – but you don’t know how to say it?
If yes, then read on to discover a simple, but little-known technique, for making your writing punchier, clearer and more persuasive.
The end is your friend
Last year, I was fortunate enough to purchase and read a book by Stephen Wilbers called Keys to Great Writing. This super-helpful book has taught me many things about the art of writing, including introducing me to some new writing techniques.
One of these techniques focuses on the flow and structure of your sentences.
According to Wilbers, the start and end of your sentences are more important that what you say in the middle. Interestingly though, he states that the end is actually the most important part – as this is the point of natural emphasis.
When I came across this, it really stuck in my mind, and I decided to put the technique into action in my writing. The result? I’ve definitely noticed that my writing now carries more weight and expresses my thoughts much better than before.
As I’ll show you in a moment, it’s not difficult to adopt this technique. It really just comes down to how you arrange your words in a sentence, and being willing to trim unnecessary words from the ends of your sentences.
Let me give you a couple of quick examples of this technique in action:
Before: You need to act right now if you’re to complete your work on time.
After: If you’re to complete your work on time, you need to act right now.
Before: Does this look like a good business opportunity to you?
After: Does this look like a good business opportunity?
In the first example, I’ve rearranged the words so that the emphasis is on acting right now.
In the second example, I’ve trimmed the last two words from the sentence so the key message of ‘good business opportunity’ is clearly conveyed to the reader.
Hopefully, from these examples, you can see just how easy it is to make your sentences stronger and more stylish. It’s all about paying attention to the ending. This is where the important word(s) should be placed. Think of this area as the VIP seat for your key message.
To give you a further flavour of this technique in action, take a look at the famous quotes below:
- “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
- “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle
- “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.” – Hans Christian Andersen
I’m sure that when you read those quotes, the end phrase or word is the part that sticks out. It’s also the part that you’re most likely to remember.
This is just the beginning
Once you start writing your sentences with the end in mind, you’ll not only be following the natural rhythm and emphasis – but you’ll also be making your content clearer and more persuasive.
Of course, this technique of focusing on the end as the important part can be applied to more than just sentences.
For example, you can also put the key part of your paragraphs at the end. And the same goes for your emails, social media posts, documents, press releases and blogs. Start strong – but end even stronger!