Why Do I Need to Think About That?

Monday, November 02, 2015

At Thinking Directions, Jean Moroney considers common problem with direct bearing on persuasive writing, namely "How do you know you need to think about that?" Interestingly, she discusses writer's block, but there's another aspect of the craft for which the question holds relevance.

Do you want and need to know the answer? If you already know the answer, you don't need to think about it. If you don't care about the answer, you shouldn't waste time and effort thinking about it.
A co-worker who -- before my blogging days -- would spam me with unsolicited political opinions helped me later see the importance of motivating the reader. I rightly found the reading assignments presumptuous, coming as they did from someone who did not know me well or have any reason to think I'd care -- and unprofessional, since they had nothing to do with the only reason for our association, our work.

As a blogger, I thought about this once and found myself vaguely wishing I'd not simply deleted the emails; perhaps they could have provided some good material. But I did learn from my reaction: For any hope of persuading someone, one must first raise and satisfactorily answer that question to motivate the thinking process.

Many people truly don't see the relevance of one issue or another -- or wrongly think they understand something. Since there is no way to know this about any individual, the proper way to proceed is to help them realize for themselves that they may have thinking to do.

-- CAV

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