Jordan Peterson's 10 Steps to Better Writing

  Sunday, November 28, 2021

First of all, let me state that Jordan Peterson is a genius. He's one of the most revered psychologists of our time and has an interesting worldview. In his popular and extensive book "12 Rules for Life," he talks about turning the chaos of life into order from which we can understand, appreciate, and learn. Peterson's area of expertise is personality traits. One of his most well-known studies is a look at what makes people more or less creative. He claims that people who pay attention to seemingly "irrelevant" things are more creative. He has been cited more than 10,000 times in scholarly journals, according to Google Scholar, and is one of the top 70 researchers in his field.

In recent times, Peterson has become a controversial figure gracing the news or social media from time to time. Whether you agree with his type of politics or not, that's another matter. However, you can't deny his ability with words and the way he communicates his ideas. It's one of the reasons why he has become so popular. So, without further ado: Here are Jordan Peterson's ten steps to writing better: 

Step 1: Introduction

Peterson states that: 

"The primary reason to write an essay is so that the writer can formulate and organize an informed, coherent and sophisticated set of ideas about something important."

What is the point of bothering to come up with intelligent concepts in the first place? It's because, for starters, there's no difference between doing so and thinking. It is critical to think because action based on thought is much less painful and more productive than action based on ignorance. It's what distinguishes us from animals. So, suppose you want a life marked by competence, productivity, security, uniqueness, and engagement rather than one that is nasty, brutish, and brief. In that case, you must consider critical matters carefully. There is no better method to accomplish this than by writing. This is because a report helps you remember things better, makes editing more accessible, and clarifies your thoughts.

So whenever you sit down to write, remember the purpose you're writing for, and stick to it for the rest of the essay. 

Step 2: Resolving Your Thoughts (5 Levels)

Like any other work of writing, an essay exists at numerous resolution levels at the same time. The first step is to choose your starting word. The second step is to design the sentence. Each word in each sentence should be precisely the appropriate word in the proper place. The sentence should provide grammatically accurate thinking, which is a part of the idea expressed throughout the paragraph. The third degree of resolution requires each phrase to be appropriately organized and sequenced inside a section. 

Each paragraph should have at least 10 sentences or 100 words, according to Peterson. The final two levels consist of arranging the paragraphs in a logical progression (with each paragraph expressing a single theme) and comprehending the essay as a whole. When creative people fail to organize their thoughts straightforwardly, they can miss the mark.

Peterson is very particular about these rules, saying:

"Rules are there for a reason. You are only allowed to break them if you are a master. If you're not a master, don't confuse your ignorance with creativity or style."

Step 3: The Topic and The Reading List 

The topic question is the central question that you are attempting to answer with your essay. You can choose a topic in one of two ways: you'll be assigned one (remember, this guide is for Peterson's pupils), or you can make a list of ten topics you'd want to investigate and then pick one. The next step is to create a reading list for your research. Five to ten books per thousand words of essay, according to Peterson.

Indicate what you need to or wish to read in this box. In general, these should be books or articles. If you're not sure what papers or books could be relevant or beneficial, start with Wikipedia articles or other comprehensive sources, and check through their reference lists for suggestions on what to read next. These resources are adequate as a starting point.

Step 4: Making The Outline 

This is "the most challenging component of writing an essay," according to Peterson. "It's not optional," as well. As you study and write the essay, any outline you develop may move and transform, so being able to refer to the skeleton you build regularly is the best way to ensure success.

There are many applications and software online that will allow you to create your outline before you write. 

Step 5: Writing The Paragraphs 

To finish your paragraph, write ten to fifteen sentences per outline heading. Adding more subdivisions to your outline and working back and forth between the outline and the sentences, modifying both, may be beneficial. Also, make use of your notes. At this point, use single spacing to allow you to view more writing on the page at once. Later on, you will adequately style your essay.

At this point, don't stress too much about how good you're writing. It's also better not to get too caught up with the finer points of sentence construction and language at this point. All of this is best left for the second significant phase, editing.

Step 6: Editing The Paragraphs and Sentences 

Peterson forces you to confront yourself after you finish the first draught by pushing you to rework every sentence differently. Then read the two draughts aloud to compare them. Hearing yourself speak your own words allows you to enjoy the music of your terms while also assisting you in comprehending what is being delivered to the reader. This stage also aids in the removal of redundancies and the mastery of conciseness.

Step 7: Now Re-Order The Paragraphs

Take a look at the order in which the paragraphs are written (as you just did with the sentences within each section). It's possible that by this point in the editing process, you'll realize that the arrangement of the subtopics in your initial outline is no longer precise and that some re-ordering is required. So, rearrange the revised paragraph (copy) above until they're in a better arrangement than before.

Step 8: Creating a New Outline 

So now you should have a second draught that is pretty good. You've found the suitable sources, taken the right notes, defined your thesis, roughed in a first draught (paragraph by paragraph), reworked your phrases to make them more elegant, and re-ordered those sentences and the sections themselves. This is a significant step forward for most writers. You might even believe you're done – but you're not.

Peterson says: 

"If you force yourself to reconstruct your argument from memory, you will likely improve it. Generally, when you remember something, you simplify it, while retaining most of what is important. Thus, your memory can serve as a filter, removing what is useless and preserving and organizing what is vital. What you are doing now is distilling what you have written to its essence."

Step 9: Repeat 

You now have a third draught, which is most likely rather lovely. You can repeat the challenging process of sentence rewriting and re-ordering and also take it to paragraph re-ordering and re-outlining if you genuinely want to take it to the next level. It's a good idea to take a step back and wait a few days before doing this so you can look at your work with fresh eyes. Then, rather than seeing what you believe you typed, you'll be able to see what you wrote, and judge it with a distant and objective mindset. You are not truly finished until you are unable to improve your essay through editing.

Step 10: References and Bibliography 

When you write a sentence that incorporates what is supposed to be a fact, or at the very least an informed opinion that you got from anything you read, you must cite the source. People may accuse you of plagiarism, a sort of theft if you do not follow the convention (of intellectual property). You can use a variety of protocols to correctly structure your references and bibliography. A bibliography is a list of books and articles that you have read to obtain relevant background information. You may not have drawn any points specific enough to require a reference.

Congratulations on making it this far. If you write several essays utilizing this method, you will see that your thoughts and communication will get more prosperous and more precise. Nothing is more essential than getting an education, and nothing is more important than education for your future and the people around you.

I am wishing you the best of success with your freshly organized and revitalized thoughts.

Health Disclaimer

JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.

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