Tips for Writing Without Boasting

watching the game

Readers Question. As another blogger that deals in the self help niche how do you follow your own advice about following your ideals quietly? I often find it hard to blog about these topics without sounding boastful, or that I know it all. Any tips?

Thanks, Kayci

A thought provoking question. I will offer these points, but, I would be interested in suggestions from other writers in the field of self-improvement.
1. Write with Confidence.

I think it is important to write with confidence. This should not be confused with boasting; it is simply writing with clarity. For example, if we write with great hesitation and uncertainty it becomes painful to read. Compare the following 2 examples:

“Controlling your anger is essential for peace of mind.”

“I think that if you control your anger, it is highly probable that you will have greater peace of mind; at least this is what some other people say; as of yet, I am unable to successfully implement this in my life, nevertheless I recommend you give it a try.”

Note: in the first example, you don’t necessarily imply that the writer is always successful in controlling his anger – just that it is a desirable thing to do.

2. Include Yourself in making mistakes.

“A common mistake you can easily make is to allow small things to irritate you”

“A common mistake we can easily make is to allow small things irritate us.”

Here we change just two words, but, it completely changes the tone of the message. In the first example, it implies that, you (the reader) make the mistake; but, the writer doesn’t. Therefore, it has a condescending attitude.

However, in the second example, we say everyone (including the writer) is liable to make the mistake. – Wouldn’t it be much better if we all did the right thing?

In the second example, there is a oneness between reader and writer. – We are learning together. In the first example, the writer is telling the reader they should be more like us. It is a small point, but, it makes a big difference to the tone of the article.

3. Write in the Third person

To prevent anger, it is advisable to take a few deep breaths.

To prevent anger, I take a few deep breaths

For self improvement articles, generally, it is advisable to leave out the “I” when you write from the perspective of “I” do this. You imply that you always follow your own advice. (There are occasions when it is good to write from the perspective of I. Perhaps when you recount a personal example of how you made a mistake, but, were able to learn from it.)

When you write in the third person, like the first example, it can just as easily be advice for yourself.

4. Use Quotes from respected authorities.

Thomas Jefferson suggests this piece of advice for dealing with anger.

“When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.”

5. Don’t pretend to know everything.

For example, at the end of the article, you could invite further comments from your readers. Often readers offer useful comments, which help improve the article. This makes the reader feel part of the article.

Thanks to Kayci for Question.

Kayci’s blog: Your Highest Potential

See also:

Picture: By: Pavitrata Taylor, Sri Chinmoy Centre Gallery’s

3 thoughts on “Tips for Writing Without Boasting”

  1. Not to boast, I have made it my intention not to teach, but to inspire and create awareness. I use ‘I’ most of the time, as I feel ‘you’ may come across as schoolish. I make my entries as personal as possible. I write about where I (have) mess(ed) up as well as about what I (have)learn(ed) along the way.

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