The Benjamin Franklin Method: How to Learn to Write

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Author: Ben Parker

Dear Community,

in this post, we appreciate methods, aimed at improving writing abilities. These points aren’t such ordinary as you can find on the Internet. For instance, “if you want to write well, you should read more” is a quite widespread phrase. Yes, this approach is useful. But, also, there are interesting and practicable advises, devised by outstanding person – Benjamin Franklin.

Actually, this man was born in poverty. Because of difficult life circumstances, he stopped an educational process at primary school, when he was 10 years old. Thus, Benjamin didn’t know the writing on a high level. His desire for studying changed this moment, despite the absence of finances and tutors. Self-education became the path to knowledge and recognition.

Let’s consider some facts from this autobiography, to find out, how Benjamin reached the perfect literacy and ability to write informative texts, that really drawn the attention of a large number of people.

1. Evaluation and Reconstruction

At age 16, Benjamin realizes that his writing is necessary to be improved. Grammar correctness has a place, but he feels a lack of elegance and clarity when expressing the thoughts. To settle this problem, he turns to a magazine, known as “The Spectator”.

“I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try’d to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them.”

Quite applicable technique. It is possible to define the clue aspects:

1. Find the articles or another form of good writing and make hints for the sentences.

2. Wait for few days and come back to the hints.

3. Try to reconstruct the text in your own words, using only the hints.

4. Compare the outputs with the original, find out mistakes, analyze and correct them.

2. Poetry

Benjamin considers poetry as a suitable way to improve writing abilities.

“But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.”

“Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again.”

Let’s extract the points, that reflect the issue:

1. Find a story and turn it into poetry.

2. As it is required in the method above, put your result aside and wait for a few days.

3. The final stage is turning of the poem into the previous format – story.

Try to practice this method on a regular basis to achieve desirable progress.

3. Awareness of the Structure

Because of the regular performance of the exercises with the articles from the magazine and poetry, Benjamin knew how to create efficient sentences. Now, he improves the general structure of his writing.

“I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and complete the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts.”

In overall, the following steps help to reach the improvement with the structure:

1. Take the hints from the exercise with the rewriting of the story and jumble them up.

2. Put them aside (2 weeks).

3. Rebuild the sentences again as much perfect as you can.

4. Compare the outputs with the original.

This technique is aimed at teaching a writer to understand the structure of the writing and create it in the right way.

4. Franklin’s Secret

Actually, the necessary steps for successful writing have been already described. But, there is a significant point.

“My time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could the common attendance on public worship…”

All advice with hints, poetry is applicable and influences the writing positively. Nevertheless, the inseparable aspect on the way to highly effective and attractive text creation – is devotion to this activity.

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