Synthesis—the combining of separate units to form a cohesive whole—is a skill that artists, designers, and writers need in order to create. It is an extremely important skill to possess, because without it, you cannot truly synthesize your ideas and formulations into a complete story, design, or piece of artwork.
The best writers and journalists are masters of synthesis. They are able to take a number of separate pieces of information, create a new context for them, and explain the results in a coherent manner. While writing, they are able to constantly revise and experiment with new ideas, concepts, and information, and then present the most cohesive and compelling version of the story, design, or article by the end.
Being able to synthesize in writing is an incredibly valuable skill, but it can be difficult to develop. If you’re looking to improve your writing, examining how successful journalists and writers synthesize information will undoubtedly help you achieve better results. In this article, we will discuss three tips for how to effectively synthesize writing:
Tip #1: Be Intuitive
As a writer—whether you’re a professional journalist or an aspiring novelist—you will inevitably have to tackle a number of disparate topics and stories in your work. The difference between you and a seasoned journalist is that you have to do this while also trying to explain your reasoning, as you go about your research and writing. This can be difficult, as most writers will attest. It’s easy to get lost in the details of your research and forget why you’re doing it, which can result in significant gaps in your work. To avoid this, always consider what your end result should be, and then work backwards to formulate a coherent strategy that will get you there.
Tip #2: Use Examples
Being able to provide relevant examples is extremely important in any form of written communication, but it is especially crucial when trying to persuade others in a persuasive or narrative fashion. If you’re writing to persuade someone, it is essential that you can back up any claims you make with relevant examples. These examples should always support your main argument and should never undermine it. In fact, you might argue that the two should work in tandem: providing additional examples to support your initial claims and bolstering these claims with logic and reason using evidence from the examples you have provided. Consider, for instance, a claim such as “Most scientists believe that…” You would then back this up with relevant examples of prominent scientists voicing such a claim, or evidence that proves it to be true. In a similar fashion, you could use an analogy to make a point: “The car industry is similar to the music industry in this way—while vinyl records are still popular, more and more people are leaning toward digital music. Like with cars, you can’t stop people listening to music, but you can definitely affect how they experience it.”
Tip #3: Make Assumptions
A common pitfall for all writers, whether experienced or aspiring, is making too many assumptions about what the reader knows or will take for granted. An assumption, in this case, is a belief or fact that you make about the world, people, or society that you’re writing about, and which you believe will not affect your ability to convince the reader of your point of view. For example, let’s say you’re writing about the legalization of marijuana—a topic that is currently highly polarizing, to say the least. You decide to write from the perspective of a cannabis connoisseur, and you want to persuade your readers that cannabis is an invaluable medicine. In this case, you might want to make the following assumptions about your audience:
- They are familiar with the concept of marijuana.
- They are not affiliated with any organization that promotes the use of marijuana as a medicine.
- They have not taken a professional stance against the use of marijuana.
From there, you can write the following:
“Marijuana has been shown in studies to have a number of medically beneficial effects, including providing pain relief, treatment for epilepsy, and reducing spasms in those with a brain tumor. It also has the potential to be used as a cancer treatment. The list of benefits is long, but the most significant is that it is a natural substance, meaning there are no known toxic effects. In other words, when used responsibly, marijuana has the potential to be quite the marvel drug.”
Being able to synthesize information into a clear and concise document is an extremely valuable skill. Whether you’re writing for an academic journal or you just want to write a persuasive essay for your English class, being able to do this is a necessary step toward more effective communication and learning. By following these tips, you will undoubtedly become a more convincing writer, capable of weaving separate facts and figures into a compelling narrative that is easy to understand and memorable.