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    The biggest writing mistake according to one of the most popular cognitive scientists in the world

    By Kieran Drew
    💡
    This is an edition of my old newsletter Digital Freedom.

    It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.

    One of my favourite writers is Stephen Pinker.

    He’s a cognitive scientist, and great at distilling complex topics into something digestible and enjoyable.

    But aside from books on society, rationality, and neurochemistry - he has one on writing:

    The Sense of Style.

    I wouldn't recommend it for beginners. But there is a tip inside that will improve your writing and business (no matter what level you're at):

    Surviving the curse of knowledge.

    The curse of knowledge is the gap between what you and your reader understand.

    Pinker explains the difficulty: the more you know, the less you remember how hard it was to learn in the first place.

    I first heard about this as a dentist.

    If you wanted your patient to care, you didn't talk about caries and cavities. You explained there’s a bloody big hole in the tooth - and it’s gonna hurt if it gets bigger.

    But the problem with writing is you’re having a one-way conversation.

    There’s no blank look on someone's face to show you don’t make sense. Instead your audience drifts to better content. Before you know it, you’re not the go-to source of information in your niche.

    A prime example is Alex Hormozi.

    If you study direct response marketing you realise his advice isn’t new.

    But he presents his ideas clearly - and now he’s one of the most popular creators in the world.

    Why?

    Because clear ideas are easier to execute. Less confusion, more action, better results - more fans.

    There're two common tips to help with the curse of knowledge (and then I'll give you Pinker's):

    1. Write the person you were 2 years ago
    2. Listen for audience questions

    The problem with the first is you can't really remember what was on your mind back then. And the problem with the second is that most people don't ask questions if they're confused - it's easy to misinterpret no feedback for good feedback.

    What Pinker suggests is more practical, and it's something Hormozi does brilliantly:

    Give examples for every point you make.

    This helps people understand because you show instead of tell.

    And if you can’t give an example, you probably don’t know it as well as you think.

    For example…

    I could tell you how writing is a powerful way to build your business and think I’ve made a great point.

    But in reality, 95% of my audience doesn’t understand how writing actually leads to a business.

    …I sure as hell didn’t when I started.

    So instead, I explain how the internet is like a sea of floating minds - readers drift toward the content they enjoy.

    This makes writing a magnet, pulling like-minded people into your world.

    Those people have problems…

    And once they know, like, and trust you - they’ll invest because they see you as the solution.

    Can you see how this makes my point easier to visualise? To understand?

    Here's the truth my friend:

    The creator who wins isn’t the one with the best ideas. It’s the one who communicates them best.

    Clarity is king - give more examples.

    Kieran


    Kieran Drew

    About Kieran

    Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business