One key piece of advice I always hear when writing – whether it be for my blog or for my job – is to implement the human element into what I write.
We all have a basic understanding of what this means, yet it can still be hard to figure out what actions are best to take to give the feeling of the human element to readers.
We know we want a piece of writing to feel full of useful information but also contain the underlying structure of a conversation to help model the information coming across.
But how do we do that?
Over time, I’ve come to understand some of the specifics that I use to help make my readers feel like they are being talked to. And with you, I will share the ones I feel are the most effective.
The purpose of a metaphor is quite simple and apparent.
You relate it to something comparing either the similarities or differences in hopes of building a better understanding of whatever it is you are talking about.
However, the best comparisons come from your own visualizations of whatever information you are portraying relates to.
To give an example, if you are to write (for whatever reason) about mechanical keyboards and how they are much more satisfying to use, the best metaphor of the feeling will probably come from your first personal experience with one.
If pushing just one key of a mechanical keyboard gave you the same feeling of satisfaction that comes with submitting a long document you’ve been pouring hours into, then use that. Mention how every keystroke felt not like another tick of a letter but of the further completion of a project.
If you can’t already tell, that is how I feel about mechanical keyboards. The satisfaction in the keys is just… compelling.
Even after the comparison is made, the metaphor itself shows the existence of passion within the writer to help the information seem consumable and further explain that it can be simplified with understanding.
Relate to your own problems
I say this over relate to your own experiences because people experience a lot of different things while problems are shared among people much more than the solutions.
This is just taking it a step back to compare when you were stuck in a rut versus when you climbed out. The problem is experienced by a large group while only a smaller group may have experienced the solution.
Despite that problems can be related, relaying a lot of information can be useful for getting over a problem but it may not exude evidence that the information itself works.
By involving the human element and mentioning how the solution helped with one of your problems, it adds a lot of backup to the information you are presenting.
Anyone can tell you to do better in school by changing your study habits, but talking about how you found time in your schedule to make room for more study time will complete the explanation.
Remember your first interpretation
If you are writing about a researched topic, remember the questions that arise in your mind to help build a structure that doesn’t rip itself apart.
Knowing when a question will be asked and answering it at that exact moment is the key to making a piece of writing feel like a conversation where your questions are almost written down with the information.
Anyone can explain how some formula in astrophysics works (ok maybe not everyone, myself included), but knowing when the audience would ask the question “what does that mean?” gives for a much better structure in your writing.
These questions and answers can be pinpointed even harder by writing specifically where a certain question popped into your mind. At what point in trying to understand the information yourself did the question of “what is this used for?” appear?
Remembering your first interpretation is essentially dissecting as you learn, what questions need to be answered and where based on when you attempted to process the information yourself.
Equal or more commentary
The human element in writing is making the reader feel like they are having a one on one conversation instead of reading textbook information which felt like it was written by someone with no opinion in the matter.
There’s a time when information needs to be presented in this manner, but the commentary can be much more helpful than rereading the information.
Humans talk and talking about problems and solutions is one thing – a lecture. Whereas commentary on what it is about the information that may be interesting or what may be hard to interpret is more than essential.
Commentary itself makes any writing more interesting because talking about the characterstics of why Napolean was such a great leader is just as interesting – if not more interesting – than what the names of the places he conquered were.
To understand the human element is to understand how a reader will feel when reading your writing.
Getting information across can be done through the medium of writing, but making sure it is understood is the tricky part.
The human element can always be better understood as it’s implementing the social aspect of a conversation in writing making for a much more realistic absorption of information.