What if your article has 5 points, but 1 is a digression?

Imagine that you have five important points to make in an article, quarterly commentary, or white paper. Four of the points hang together. The fifth point is a digression. It doesn’t have much to do with the other four points. How can you best manage your oddball point?

Solution 1. Delete your digression

In the best of all possible worlds, your piece has a clear focus. Don’t dilute it by adding irrelevant information.

Solution 2. Move it to the end

Deleting the unrelated content isn’t always possible. I often encounter this in quarterly client letters.

For example, a letter may discuss the developments that drove portfolio performance during the past quarter. However, it’s also relevant to discuss the firm’s new hire.

In this case, discuss the new hire at the end of the letter. If possible, set off the announcement with a new heading.

Solution 3. Put it in a sidebar box

If you’re writing a longer piece that will be printed or published as a PDF, you have more options. You can put your digression into a sidebar box. That box gives a visual cue that its content is not essential to the main thrust of what you’ve written.

Other ideas?

If you have other ideas for handling a digression, please share them with me.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy “5 steps for rewriting your investment commentary.”

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