Hey everyone, I’m back. At least, for some time. I’m sorry for not writing for so long, but the thing is, these examinations never really leave you in peace. I have to study for the SSC (Secondary School Certificate) Examinations which are going to happen in March 2012; and as you might imagine, there is a lot to study, which is why I couldn’t update this site up till now. In an ideal world, I would update it every week, now even every month isn’t looking too sure.
Still, I will definitely update whenever I get some time. And after all, quality is more important than quantity, right? So therefore you can still await those superb articles filled to the brim with writing tips (all right, all right, enough bragging).
I actually lost the draft of this post before, due to Human Error and a false trust on Windows Live Writer (seriously, Microsoft). And everyone knows it’s quite difficult to write again once you’ve lost your writing, and the flair is not there. Still I will be trying my best. (Windows Live Writer was deprecated with the launch of Windows 8, a year after this article was originally published).
Now, on with the show!
Clarity is a hot topic in writing. As you can imagine, nearly every writer and blogger out there is saying his piece on what is, and what isn’t clarity. How to attain it, how to use it. And why it’s just so important.
Hey, even I might have added my piece to it two years ago.
But how to master it?
The answer, my friends, is below, so keep reading!
Master clarity with these oven-hot tips
- Write directly. This is the best, and the most doable tip of all time. Rambling while writing helps to make your piece longer, and writing indirectly with padding and all that will certainly make few readers happy. That’s right, few. Very, very few, in fact. So what should you do? Write directly to the reader. Imagine if he is in front of you and you are talking to him. How would you talk to him then? Would you use a dozen complex words like ebullient, winnow, titillate and ramble around like mad? No, of course not. So why are you doing it in writing? Write like you talk, but better, so says Brian Clark of Copyblogger. Frankly I haven’t found a better sentence that sums it up better, so I’d urge you to follow what he says.
- Focus on the subject matter. Important tip, this. Even I was guilty of this mistake before. What I used to do was plan out a subject for my writing, begin to write, write and then start writing unconsciously about a totally different and unrelated subject which made the piece quite useless. Problem was, I wasn’t concentrating and focusing on the subject matter. This should not happen. So when writing, keep a tight focus on the subject matter. Sure, expanding about related and relevant topics you are allowed to do, even encouraged. But totally unrelated ones? I don’t think so.
- Simple language. This is related to the first point. When writing, use simple language. Not everyone has given a GRE exam or is a language major. So why are you using complex words which no one is bound to understand, long sentences, long paragraphs and everything endlessly complicated? You won’t create brilliant writing that way, as this article shows. Of course, if it is in your niche and topic that you must use complex words, then you are free to do so, no encouraged in fact. But for everyone else, it’s usually a bad idea. And no, nobody will think you dumb for using simple language such as ‘begin’ for ‘commence’ and ‘end’ for ‘terminate’.
- Learn the nuances of spelling, grammar and punctuation. What does spelling, grammar and punctuation have to do with clarity in writing, you ask? Quite a lot, it turns out. If your writing contains bad spelling, horrible grammar and poor punctuation then it won’t be understood well. Grammar is a tricky animal—there’s a lot of confusion in it, lot of different things such as homophones, homonyms, tenses, clauses etc. So your sentence could be trying to say one thing, and the meaning could come out totally different. You don’t want that to happen, right? As for punctuation—suffice it to say that without proper punctuation, your writing’s readability will always be negatively impacted.
- Keep reading and writing. Oh, the favourite tip of all time. I know you’ve heard this before, but it bears mentioning again. It’s simply necessary. Of course just writing, writing, and writing will create nothing but a load of bad writing. It’s a case of writing and learning at the same time. So what should you do? Read. Read more. Read better. See how the famous writers are crafting their sentences, how they are making them fantastic and easy to read at the same time. Write. Write more. Write better. It’s not an easy task as these sentences are telling you. But if you follow this rule, then your writing’s clarity automatically or with hard work becomes better as you form your own writing voice. It becomes better and better, until a time comes when everyone can understand your writing without a single difficulty, and that’s when you have mastered this monster, clarity.
Okay, so these were five tips. I’m sure there are others, though. So how about some of you contributing these in the comments section? Oh, and don’t forget to share your experiences, pitfalls or whatever comes to your mind (relevant only, of course).
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