To Write with Flow, Use the Old-to-New Connection

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You’ve probably had the experience of reading a paragraph in a legal document, getting to the end, and realizing you need to start over. For some reason, you are not following the argument. So you start over, concentrate hard, and maybe the second time it makes more sense. In many of those cases, your initial confusion is due not to a lack of focus on your part—after all, you did understand it the second time—but rather to the writer’s failure to smooth your way from idea to idea. The writer instead scattered new information across the path, causing you to stumble.

One way writers can avoid this problem is to begin each sentence with old information that connects easily to the new—put more concisely, the “old-to-new connection.” Your mind then moves smoothly through the sequence, and you understand it the first time.