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Writing with flow and rhythm

Most of us have been writing for most of our lives. For a few of us, it’s even been the focus of our (working) lives. Yet we rarely learn new writing skills and techniques. We prefer to just muddle through, hoping that the standard of our writing is adequate for purpose, and that we might be improving just through practice.

Lots of us use specific writing techniques without even realising it. I was reading the other day about parallelism, which many of us probably employ, unknowingly, all the time. ChatGPT tells me that parallelism (or parallel structure) in writing refers to “the use of similar grammatical structures, patterns, or phrases to express ideas of equal importance. It involves maintaining consistency and balance in sentence construction, often using parallel words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence or across multiple sentences. This technique adds rhythm, clarity, and emphasis to the writing, making it more engaging and effective.”

An example of parallelism would be the use of ‘will one day live’ and ‘will not be judged’ in: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” This comes from a speech where successive sentences begin with “I have a dream” too.

In copywriting, we can employ parallelism by using similar phrase forms to create a rhythmic effect: “Straightforward to calibrate; simple to operate”.

All this is part of writing with flow and rhythm, which, in turn, is a technique that we should all think about using more.