One Critical Writing Skill Hardly Anyone Mentioned to Me

I have been writing full-time for the last four years. I have learned a lot about the craft during that time; from how to research, how to say less with more words, how to make my writing easy to read to how to edit like a pro—Make no mistake though, I am still learning.

Most of the lessons on these skills are readily available online. They are also the same skills you find being discussed at every writing event.

There is however one skill that is critical to writing success that is rarely discussed. And that is working with human psychology.

Psychology in writing has often been hinted to me but not fully explained. Many times I would hear or read some expert encouraging writers to know their readers, which often translates to knowing where the target reader lives, what they do for a living, their gender, socio-economic class etc etc.

While the advice points to the right direction, it never goes far enough. It took time for me to realize that the knowledge of the target reader wouldn’t be helpful if it didn’t result in me as a writer having a picture of their psychological state.

That information was supposed to help me understand for instance what motivates, annoys or excites them. I was also supposed to, for example, help me make my reader LIKE me or my content by exploiting common beliefs, tribe or interests that exist between us. At some level, that knowledge was supposed to help me switch off the logical side of my reader’s brain and exploit the emotional side.

It is through reading a lot of books—the likes of Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath, Principles of psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, Mastering the Social Engineer—that it became clear to me that if I was to succeed as a writer I needed to take my skills on human psychology more serious.

Unfortunately, there are only a few of us who are lucky to be in a psychology class. Fortunately, the number of books and scholarly articles out there you can read is infinite.

Knowledge is power. But the most empowering knowledge to a writer is the knowledge of what makes humans (target readers) tick.

I look forward to reading comments from fellow writers and content creators on their HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY experiences.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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