How to Write a Manifesto

What is a Manifestation? (Definition)

A manifestation is a document which you can use to state the following:

  • Intentions – These are basically what you intend or want to do
  • Vision – The things you always dream about or simply put the kind of things you wish to come up with
  • Opinions –  These are your stands on an issue

You can use a manifesto to write about anything depending on the type of audience you want to reach. There are no restrictions when it comes to the length of a manifesto. The purpose of a manifesto is to make your reader look at you differently after reading it.

They should now understand you better, learn more about what you are advocating for be it a project or pick up your vision and also believe in the same. As the writer of a manifesto, your main aim is to leave your reader which some feeling. This can be either a feeling of hope, amusement, curiosity or excitement based on what you are trying to pass to them.

Writing a Good Manifestation

A good manifesto has the following characteristics:

  • Proactive in nature

A good manifesto should tackle current issues. That is where they derive the name provocative propositions.

  • Should be grounded

A good manifesto is not built on fancy. It should be based on real things and should be built from the strength of people or product it is advocating for.

  • Should be desired

A good manifesto is one that will lead to something that can be desired. A manifesto should be written about something that meets a need that exists or one that will excite emotion. The purpose of a manifesto is to motivate people, and motivation begins with creating desire.

Having the characteristics of a good manifesto in mind, let’s now get to how to write a manifesto.

Before writing a manifesto, you need to prepare for the same. You cannot just sit down and start writing your manifesto.

In preparation, consider the following points:

  1. Have compelling questions

You need to come up with a number of questions to determine the direction of your focus. The questions are very important as they will help you in terms of centering your focus on a single topic around the questions and also in terms of coming up with ideas.

Let’s have examples of compelling questions that you may want to consider:

  1. What do you intend to accomplish in life?
  2. What is your purpose in life?
  3. What course of action do you want to take?
  4. What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
  • The audience

You need to consider the people you want to communicate to. Depending on your audience, the kind of language you will want to use will vary. If you intend to reach a wider audience, then it is better to use a plain language. If your manifesto is about academics, then you can use more academic terms.

  • Develop ideas

You need to have a brainstorming session to develop the ideas you want to put in your manifesto. This is possible since you already know what you want to write about in your manifesto. Here instead of criticizing yourself, you need to be as open as possible to ideas.

Make a list of all the ideas you come up with and make sure you label them correctly.

  • Research

You need to go a step further in developing your ideas through research. This will make you have strong and credible points.

All your arguments should be backed up with appropriate sources. You can also go through other manifestos written in the area of your interest to get more insights for yours.

Consider the following:

Go through as many as possible manifestos done on the topic you want to write one about. This will help you get more arguments. Read the views that are against your vision or intentions in order to know how to strengthen your points. Get to learn more about your topic through theory. This can be found in books.

  • Create your outline

After getting all your ideas and satisfied with them you need to create an outline. The purpose of this outline is to arrange your ideas in order so that you make the writing process easier. The ideas should flow in a logical manner. In your outline, you need to also have the introduction and the conclusion.

  • You outline should be a brief organization of your work and should not necessarily be done with full sentences.
  • You can use numbering to highlight your major sections probably the Arabic numerals.
  • Adopt the Roman numerals for examples.

After finishing your preparations, you are now at a better place to start writing your manifesto.

When writing the manifesto, you need to do the following:

  • Begin with who you are and what you believe in

Basically, tell your readers about yourself that is what you believe in, how you view the world and your experiences that are related to the manifesto. This helps in connecting with the readers.

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While doing this, ensure that whatever you share about your life is in line with the ideas you want to put forth.

You also need to bring up experiences that will make you look like an authority. For example, experiences form school, work or life in general.

If you are doing an artist’s manifesto you talk about your degree in art or talk about civil service is you manifesto is in the political line.

  • Introduction

Your introduction should have the following:

  • Thesis statement

Your manifesto should lead to something a certain unifying point which you need to state in your introduction. This should be a thoughtful argument that converges your ideas. You need to be smart in developing your thesis so that it captures all your ideas.

  • Precepts

A precept is an idea that can be put into action or in other words, a tool for regulating thought or behavior. In your introduction, you readers should get a glimpse of what to expect in the manifesto. This should be just brief points that can help you reader create a bigger picture or what the manifesto intends to achieve. In this case, your precept should be brief but you can explain it in a single sentence to make it clear, or preferably you can explain them better in the body paragraphs.

  • Provide a call to action

Apart from giving your readers the ideas you have for the issues at hand, give then a direction for the change. Manifestos are meant to set in a sort of revolution. Regardless of the fact that manifestos are meant for different purposes, they all intend to achieve a certain form of change.

  • You should employ the use of action verbs.
  • Provide tangible details

For example: Instead of writing “Something is derailing our country” write “Corruption is derailing our country”

  • Focus on current affairs and try to change them using your ideas.
  • Expound on your ideas

Remember that in your outline, you had only listed your ideas. Know when writing them you need to give them more flesh. This is for the sole purpose of making your point carry more weight so that your readers can understand them better. Apart from that, expanding your points will ensure that all the questions that might puzzle your readers are answered.

Try to use subheadings when dealing with long sections

For longer manifestos, all the precepts should be given at least a paragraph each.

  • Be clear

A good manifesto should be short and to the point. You need to put your focus clear and your intentions exact. Ensure that your purpose and meaning stays same all through.

Having a concise manifesto helps you to stay on track.

  • Conclusion

In your conclusion, provide a summary of all your major points so that your readers are reminded of what they have been reading. You should also restate your thesis in the conclusion to make it sink into the mind of your readers. The conclusion is important as it gives the reader a sense of ending.

  • Lastly, you need to edit and proofread.

Writing a manifesto does not end without ensuring that it is free of errors. Go through your manifesto to ensure that it stands out.

Manifestation Writing Format

There are no hard rules in writing a manifesto.

If your manifesto is a short one, you can choose to style it depending on what you see will impress your audience. For longer manifestos, have the following

  1. Introduction- should have a thesis statement
  2. Body- explain all your main points
  • Conclusion – restate your thesis and all the points.

You can also pick a format from famous manifestos such as:

  • The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
  • Man on the Moon by John F Kennedy
  • I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King

Or an art manifesto e.g.

  • The Art of Noises by Luigi Russolo.

With this guide you are sure to write the best manifesto.