The one thing I find myself writing most often in feedback to student essays is: The answer to the questions HOW and WHY is the core of your essay. Answer those questions and you’ll find your purpose and focus.

This is true of any message. Answer the question WHY to discover motivation, significance, connections between concepts or past experiences that affect each other, that affect you. Answer the question HOW to discover evidence of the why.

Example:

Why do I write? And how does writing affect my life — how does it affect my day, my mood, my thoughts, the way I communicate?

Or:

Why do I believe what I believe? And how does that belief manifest itself in my life — how does it affect my decisions, the choices I make, my behavior, my actions, the way I treat others?

Tough questions. But when we stop to think about them — really process an answer that we can then articulate — it’s usually something that you can’t stop reading.

4 thoughts on “How + Why = Core

  1. This is so true in writing, and even more true in life. Very hard questions to answer sometimes, but essential.

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