If you want to make your writing more memorable, make it POP: Personal, Observational, and Playful.
Make your writing personal by telling a story about your life - what are the unique and intense emotions you won’t share with others? Explain about experiences you share with the reader: How it’s like to work as a doctor, what it’s like to take public transport. However, too much personal writing makes it look like you’re writing in Barbie’s diary. Why should your reader care about your journal?
Observational writing is all about making your reader go, “Wow, I’ve never thought of that before”. It’s about finding hidden patterns in life. Are there any insights one can only find in boring academic journals? What are things you know that most don’t? Surprise your reader with these insights. Too much observational writing, though, and your article belongs in the New England Journal of Medicine - it's boring to read!
Playful writing is about adding fun to your piece. I’m sure you’ve seen this before: what are the articles that make you laugh? Add jokes, puns, memes, and tell good stories. But too much playful writing, and no one will take you seriously. Like how Tim Urban explains procrastination with monkeys and monsters, a little dose can make the article resonate and stick.
A piece of writing that excites people and makes them want to share it with others must be strong in at least two of these three areas. However, you need all three pillars, or your writing might be too two-dimensional. An article that’s personal and observational might be informative but not fun to read. A playful and observational piece might be intriguing but lacks relevance to your reader. It’s all about balancing these three pillars to create something memorable.
My Favourite Piece of POP Writing is by James Clear.
- he gets personal with his problems in life and how he overcame them,
- he reveals insights on habits that one can only find from doing plenty of research,
- he makes it playful with his stories and analogies.
If your article is not resonating with someone, ask yourself: How can you make it POP?