Ever read a book or a magazine, only to find you cannot get “into it”?
Many of us suffer from what I call, “passive writing syndrome.” This is a concept best illustrated by a recent textbook I read. Obviously written by a PhD, the content was there; the knowledge was top-notch…but it was difficult to understand because in my head all I could hear was a slow, Patagonian (albeit, boring) voice. Now, there’s a way to fix this, and it is a new theory of mine: simply change the tone of voice in your head!
Use An Active Voice
An active voice is what you find when you hear a lively, fast-paced and witty conversation. Think about this: what do you do when you are talking to a friend about something you learned? Do you pander on with a plain, generic voice? Or do you do what most people do, and maintain a friendly disposition? If you can change the tone of voice of what you are reading to something you may relate to, you may be able to conquer the topic at hand.
Think of the best tone-of-voice for you. Who is your favorite author? Mine is Stephen King, and it’s because he uses an active voice. Now, do a quick exercise: read over this a second time, and use an active voice. Train the tone in your mind to something entertaining; make it lively; make it interesting. If you read everything with an originally-bland tone, try to read it with a faster one. Take what I am writing and for a second, forget the words you are reading. Instead, picture a spirited debate; picture the same voice you would find if this were poetry.
How much better did it all sound?
Use An Exclamation Mark
I do not think I have used a single exclamation mark in the preceding text. But when you use one, it generally makes things more fascinating! It is a sign of character and spirit! Notice that this paragraph is using them. I would say that you will most likely never encounter a paragraph with all exclamation marks…but it might help. Assume every sentence is followed by a “!” and see if this makes things more interesting!
Pick up the pace with every word, every sentence, and every mark. When we speak in a fast and active tone, we generally emphasize our tone-of-voice. The difference between: “This was interesting” and “This was interesting!” is dramatic at the least, and the human brain is cognitively-wired to feel someone who maintains an active tone is more interesting than someone who uses a passive one. This is not always true; some people are very, very interesting, but they cannot word things properly. Try to utilize an active tone and you should be set.
Again, reread this. Reread the entire post. First, go along with what tone naturally occurs. Did I sound boring? Most likely. Read slowly, and you will retain less of the actual information than if you read faster, and added an exclamation mark every sentence! So, try this with everything you read. Remember this post, use the knowledge you’ve obtained, and comment if this has changed your outlook on boring reading!