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Founder of this blog is George Craig, he is a professional web designer and SEO specialist. He lives in New York, but he likes to spend the winter in Bali. You can ask him questions here.
Do you often find it difficult to write things?
Like emails, letters or essays? Do you sit down to write something and then realize you don’t know what to write? If your answer is yes, then this lesson will help you to overcome exactly these problems because I’m going to teach you a very simple trick that you can use to write anything easily, quickly and effectively.
This is a process used by the best writers in the world and it’s called the POWER writing method. You can use it to write emails for work, essays for your English exam, you can use it for letters, business reports, blog posts, and stories – basically, anything that you need to write. But you might be asking – why is it called POWER writing? Well, POWER refers to the five stages of the writing process: Prepare Organize, Write, Evaluate and Review. This is the order you will follow and it will allow you to write without getting stuck by focusing on one task at a time.
So let’s start with the first stage – prepare. Before you write anything at all, you must prepare for it. This is because the reason we often struggle to write is that we don’t have enough ideas when we put pen to paper. So the most important task of writing is to come up with good points before you write. So this is the very first stage – before you write a single sentence, you’re going to collect ideas. And here’s how you do it: You take your paper and pen (or you can do this on your computer if you wish), and you note down anything that comes to mind. Don’t criticize your ideas – don’t leave out or discard anything. Whatever you get, write it down. Don’t worry about organizing your ideas – we’ll do that in the next stage. Also, don’t worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation – remember we just want ideas so if there are mistakes, no problem. And keep doing this until you have no more ideas. As an interesting note, his process of coming up with ideas is called brainstorming. OK, let’s look at an example of how to do this. Let’s say you’re in an English exam, and you have to write an email of complaint. Here’s your task: You recently purchased an item online, but you are not happy with it. Write an email of complaint to the manager of the shopping website: say what you bought, why you are not happy with it, and what action you expect them to take.
So let’s start by collecting some ideas for this. So what kinds of things can we buy online? We can buy clothes; we can buy computers, phones, books and so on. Let’s think of some more specific ideas – I like computers, so let’s talk about them. You can buy a laptop. Actually, you can also buy computer parts like a monitor, a mouse or a keyboard. For this task, I’m going to go with a mouse because it’s easy. Now if I bought a mouse, what problems might I have with it? I think the most common one that people face is with one of the two buttons – let’s pick the right-click button, but you can also have trouble with the scroll wheel – that’s the wheel in the middle. So I bought a mouse and maybe just two days later, the right-click button started having problems. But I’m going to say that now it’s been a week and the button has just stopped working. You can see that I’m just using my imagination. I want to add some more details, so let’s say the scroll wheel is also having some problems. What problems can it have? Well, if I try to scroll in one direction, it actually makes the screen go the wrong way. So we have our problems now. But what do we want the shopping website to do? We can say give me my money back – that’s called a refund, or we could ask for a replacement. I like that idea. Now when they give me a new item, they will want the old one back. So I’ll have to return the defective unit. That means the mouse that’s not working. Alright, we are done collecting ideas. And here in just two minutes, we have all the information we need to write our email.
Notice that as I was brainstorming, I came up with lots of ideas – I collected everything that came to mind without leaving anything out. And then I expanded on the important ideas. It can be very helpful to talk out loud during this stage like I was doing – try to have an imaginary conversation and you will find it easier to generate ideas. Also, it’s good to use paper and pen for this exercise rather than your computer.