You’ve decided to tackle a difficult project: a manifesto! Congratulations on that decision. I hope you change the world. But again, it’s going to be a difficult project. You will struggle in areas with this project, but maybe I can help you.
Let’s start off with what makes a manifesto work. The basics are the same as any other persuasive paper: be clear, concise and persuade. When writing a manifesto, you must have a clear, strong focus. People need to know what you’re fighting for and they need to know from the get-go. So don’t spend time talking about how recycling changed your life if your topic is about becoming vegetarian. The reader also needs to be able understand all of your arguments. When discussing a subject or argument, never assume that the reader knows what you’re talking about. What you should assume is that this is the first time they are reading this information. Include all relevant details even if you think they are common knowledge. Also, your manifesto must be concise. Many young writers think that long, complicated sentences are the best but in reality those sentences are confusing. It is easier to write a short, to the point, sentence. In a shorter sentence it’s easier to make a clear point that the reader will then understand. But when I say “shorter” I don’t mean you should make your sentences dry. You must maintain the juiciness to generate interest in the reader. Instead, leave out extra words and phrases that go off on a tangent. All you have to do is get a point across. Segueing from that thought, remember that a manifesto is persuasive. So fight for something. Make your point and tell the reader why it’s so important. Really convince the reader to make a change in his/her life. Your goal at the end of the piece is for the reader to say “hey, I think I’ll become vegetarian because of this manifesto.”
I’ll admit, these basic techniques can be difficult to master. In the manifesto I’m working on, I’m having a difficult time persuading my readers. I know why food composting (my topic) is important, but I’ve heard that the reader doesn’t completely understand why they need to change. But where there’s struggle also comes ease. What I find to be easy for me is clarity and focus. I know exactly what I’m writing about and the arguments I’m making.
Even though mastering all these techniques is difficult, it can be done. The Juicing Manifesto is a personal favorite of mine because it used these techniques to make the manifesto interesting. At the beginning, it immediately pulls you in with statistics and it’s clear from the beginning what the topic is. It’s also concise; it consists of short, powerful sentences. And it challenges the reader to try juicing by blatantly stating “This is not just a manifesto. This is a challenge.” If you want to know what a powerful manifesto looks like, I’d check it out.
So remember, even though writing a manifesto is difficult you can still be successful if you focus on being clear, concise and persuasive. Take this advice and read The Juicing Manifesto and you’ll know where to go with your piece. Good luck!