Flipping an omelet has always been difficult for me. As someone with the cooking skills of a 3-year-old, when I try to flip the omelet, it breaks and becomes bhurji. (Bhurji is somewhat of an Indian equivalent of scrambled eggs… but not really).
Much like writing
When we sit down to write, we have a certain direction that we want to go toward. But pretty soon, we wander off in a completely different direction. You wanted to say one thing, but now your post or article conveys something entirely different.
And this is when confusion sets in.
The way to combat this confusion is to find the core of your idea.
In this article, we’ll look at three things.
- Why exactly do you need to find the core of your writing
- When do you need to find the core of your writing
- How do you find the core of your idea
- Why do you need to find the core of your idea
When our writing is incoherent, the reader is confused. The reader, who was looking for useful insight, is now left scratching his head. Not only has he wasted 3 minutes of his life, but he is also less likely to consume your writing in the future.
When we find the core of our idea, we remove incoherence and ambiguity. We reduce the cognitive load and ensure that your writing brings about a transformation in the reader. Now that we know the importance of finding the core of our idea, there is another question we need to tackle.
When should you find the core of your idea? After having written? Before? During?
- When should you find the core of your idea?
Remember those days when your hair is perfect, the coffee is just the right temperature, and yes, your omelet doesn’t break? Yeah, it doesn’t happen frequently, does it?
But sometimes, it does
Everything is perfect. And so is your writing. On such days, you approach your keyboard with the utmost clarity. You know what you want to say and how you want to say it. The core idea is already formed inside your head. All you need to do is express that idea to the best of your abilities.
And yet, these days are rare
Most days, you wouldn’t know what you want to say. The core hasn’t appeared; it needs to be discovered. The weird part? We discover the core through our writing. That’s right. We start writing, even before knowing what exactly we want to convey. Here’s how it works –
Step 1 – Vomit on paper
Open a Google Doc and start typing. Don’t correct your grammar, and don’t worry about the sentence structure. It’s going to look messy. Right now, you are not trying to convey an idea. Instead, you are trying to think. You are trying to find the idea that you wish to convey. Like peeling an onion. The outer layers are just noise. Just type your heart out to get to the innermost layer. That is where your core idea resides.
Step 2 – Articulate your core idea
Now that the core of your idea is in place, you can move to step 2. Write about it.
To summarize – The core of your idea can come to you before you start writing or after your start writing. Writing, however, continues to play a key role.
But how exactly am I to find the core?
Yes, writing without restriction is a great start, but often it isn’t enough to get the job done. There is one question, though, that can make this process easier.
- How do you find the core of your idea?
Every piece of content we put out has a singular goal – To change the reader. In other words, to bring about a transformation. You may be writing about productivity to change an unproductive person into a productive one. Or your blog article teaches HTML to newbie developers with the intention of enabling them to design the home-page banner.
The key question is – What ONE change do I want to make in the reader’s thinking?
It cannot be two, three, or four changes. That’s too overwhelming. We are looking to transform the reader in a very specific way.
This article aims to change you
I am writing this article to change you from someone struggling to articulate your thoughts to someone who can articulate them well. Am I doing my job well? That depends on whether I am achieving my goal or not. But if I try for two changes? Or 3? Or 4? This article will become a mess. All hope would be lost, and no transformation would take place.
To summarize this point – When we get clear about the ONE transformation that we wish to make, finding the core becomes a lot easier.
Over to you. That article (or the Linkedin post or the YouTube video) that you are writing… what ONE change do you seek to make?
Writing is chaotic because we are unclear about the core idea we want to convey. If we want to write coherently, we must figure out the ‘core of our idea’. When we know the core of our idea, we don’t wander in different directions. It becomes a guardrail that prevents us from going astray.
Sometimes we know the core of our idea before we start writing. On other days, we need to find it out. One question that helps is – How do I want to change the reader?
Do you want to make an omelet or bhurji? Be clear about that right at the outset. Unless you are terrible at flipping omelets. In that case, you can always pretend that the omelet didn’t break and that you wanted to make bhurji all along.