This is a good time to summarize what has been published here previously on clear writing.
The ability to write clearly is essential to success in today’s world, a world of global communications. The power of the written word is more important today than ever before. If you are not a “good writer,” you can and should dedicate yourself to the task of becoming one. Using the guidelines and techniques explained in the posts to this blogsite will go a long way in developing a clear writing style for you.
Clear writing is an art form. That means it can be learned. But, like anything else in life, you must work at it to become accomplished. Develop confidence in your ability to write clearly by practicing your writing continuously. Also, read extensively and study experienced writers and their styles. Following these suggestions will be time well spent.
Organize your thinking before you write anything by preparing an outline of what you are going to write. Prepare the outline carefully and in detail. It is your blueprint, your roadmap to a clearly written document.
Focus on your reader and write to fulfill the reader’s needs and expectations. Write in a conversational tone. Don’t use words the reader will neither recognize nor understand.
Know your subject matter thoroughly. High quality content will help to stamp you as an accomplished writer.
It is not necessary to memorize grammar rules to write clearly. Memorization of rules is only necessary to pass examinations. Good grammar can be learned by word association, which results from training your eye to recognize it. This is a more reliable way to learn grammar than by memorizing rules and then trying to apply them to a given situation.
Clear writing means to create a document that is inviting in appearance, well organized, and understandable when read.
To achieve the foregoing objective, your writing should be as clear, concise, and understandable as you can make it. Use short sentences whenever possible. Write in everyday language using concrete words and the active voice. Paragraph headings and subheadings should be descriptive. Spell out what any acronym stands for at least once. Avoid legalisms such as whereas and herein and highly technical terms.
Organize your writing to avoid long, dense paragraphs that will be discouraging to read. Use of bullet points, graphs, and tables is often helpful in presenting detailed information. The old cliche, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is still true when it comes to writing clearly.
Words are a writers tools of the trade. You cannot hope to write clearly without having a reliable vocabulary. Work on increasing your vocabulary by writing down each new word and its meaning, reading extensively, and frequently resorting to a dictionary. Use new words in your writing when appropriate.
Learn to use punctuation marks appropriately in your writing. Properly used marks will help immeasurably in getting your message across.
Revise all writing thoroughly. Don’t rely on the first draft. Work on using the right words to express yourself clearly. It is extremely important to look for spelling errors. Nothing will turn a reader off faster than poor spelling. This point cannot be emphasized enough.
Make sure your final document looks like its meant to be read. A sloppy appearance can be a turn off.
Copyright © 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.