Good writing is all about being clear, concise, and making it easy for the reader to understand what you are saying.
Clarity is important for all types of writing. Writing with clarity will help the reader to quickly understand the moral standing of your novel’s protagonist, or help someone to understand how a new funding bill will affect their property taxes next year.
When there isn’t clarity, people end up feeling confused or frustrated, or worse, they become misinformed.
Here’s how to write with more clarity.
Do Your Research
The first step in writing about any topic, including a funding bill, is to do your research. Get a copy of the funding bill and study it. If you are confused about something, interview someone who understands the topic.
Know Your Angle
Ask yourself, what angle do you want to take?
If the goal is to help a reader understand a funding bill, start the article by talking about the funding bill, breakdown all of the elements of the bill, and then end the article by summarizing everything that was discussed.
In another scenario, you might be writing a book review. There are several angles you can take. Are you going to summarize everything about the story, or do you want to write about how certain plot elements play into the larger narrative?
Once you know your angle, make sure you stick to it. If you want to cover another element, leave that for a separate article.
Outline Before Writing
Having an introductory paragraph and a closing statement are good ways to bookend your writing and keep you on track, but you still need to fill in all of the in-between sections.
This is where an outline will help. Open a word document and created a bulleted list, then add headers between paragraphs. In one short sentence, summarize what you want to say.
If you did your research beforehand, this part would be a lot easier.
Who’s Your Audience?
With your outline in place, it is time to start writing.
But before moving ahead, who is your audience?
If you are writing a more technical article, then you may need to include a lot of jargon, write longer sentences and paragraphs, and strip out any colorful or flowery language.
On the other hand, if you are speaking to a particular hobby group, you may find that short sentences and paragraphs, easy to read words, and a lot of bulleted lists and subheadings work best.
Edit, Edit, and Edit Again
If you are someone who needs to write down and expand on every thought, then the editing process will be crucial.
Can you say in five words what took you fifteen? Can you cut entire sections without affecting the intent of the article?
Being concise is one of the best ways to ensure readers get the message.
Lead the Reader to a Conclusion
Depending on the type of writing you are doing, you may have an opportunity to lead the reader to a particular conclusion. In editorial writing, guides, and blogging, this can be appropriate.
While it is best to let your readers come to their own conclusions based on the research or other elements provided to them, sometimes it is helpful to give them a nudge in the direction you want.
Use Tools That Aid Your Writing
Writing tools can help you to avoid overly long sentences, grammatical errors, cliches, and other issues that often come up in even good writing.
Even the masters need help with their writing. Don’t be afraid to use these services – they will pay off in the long run.