What you think is easy to grasp may not be easy to grasp.
What you think is easy to understand may not be easy to understand for other people.
What they think is easy could be hard for others, and vice versa.
You write at a level comfortable for you. For you, it is good. For you, it is suitable as well as satisfactory. You don’t want to make any changes to it.
But what if you discovered that some of your readers may not be understanding your content (or, maybe they found it too simple on the other hand)? What if they may be confused with it? And worse, what if, as a result, they would leave your content?
It’s all related with clarity. If your writing can’t be understood, it won’t be read further. It won’t be appreciated and it won’t be remembered. Would you, the writer of an amazing piece, like that?
Of course not.
Your target audience
Who is your target audience? Now, you may know who your target audience is, but do you know how important that fact is? It’s that single fact that shapes up your writing voice (style), your choice of words and indeed your entire writing.
How is this so?
Suppose your writing is meant to be read by young entrepreneurs. They are not used to complex erudite speaking. So if you show off all your knowledge with complicated words and sentences that are not necessary, do you think that they will appreciate it? Do you think they will like it? The answer is a firm “no.”
But then, on the flip side, suppose your writing is meant to be read by computer programmers. Then, if you use simple, easy-to-read sentences with explanations and examples, they won’t be impressed either. They won’t be bothered by computer jargon and stuff. In fact, they’ll expect it.
So it comes to this thing: know your target audience and write according to what they expect. Don’t innovate in this area. Follow the tried and tested method with your own individual voice, and you might just see success.
What does reading level mean?
As I’ve said above, reading level is this – how much a person can read with best understanding (and clarity). For more, check out the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests.
“The Flesch/Flesch-Kincaid readability tests are designed to indicate comprehension difficulty when reading a passage of contemporary academic English. There are two tests, the Flesch Reading Easiness, and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Although they use the same core measures (word length and sentence length), they have different weighting factors, so the results of the two tests correlate approximately inversely: a text with a comparatively high score on the Reading Ease test should have a lower score on the Grade Level test. Both systems were devised by Rudolf Flesch. ~Wikipedia
I took the test with the Common Mistakes Made by Creative Writers post and the results were pretty interesting. I scored 79.80 (higher means more readable) on the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Ease on a score of 0-100. So I guess you guys don’t have to search their brains to understand what I write. This is awesome news!
On the Grade level tests my results came like this. The average adult who had sixth grade education could read my writing without problems. This means, of course, that the post was highly readable by nearly every person likely to read it (mostly writers and readers).
If you want to take the test for your writing, go here.
Now, I didn’t mean to say that you had to have a score like mine if you wanted to be successful in writing. For some, it could be the worst score and ever. And then, we come back to square zero – the famous (well, maybe not) sentence of Writers’ Treasure: it depends.
What is the real conclusion, though? It’s this. To succeed in writing, you have to be great at what you do. But not so great that people have difficulty understanding your words, or not so idiotically simple that people feel your language is too simple (that could be a good thing though).
So what do you have to do? You must know your target audience. Without it, you really shouldn’t be writing anyway. (Note: this tip does not apply to writers who are writing for themselves or for fun. Typical disclaimer.) And then, you have to work out the ideal writing voice for that target audience, and do it with your own distinctive style. It isn’t as hard as it looks, though, and it gets easier with practice.
What are you waiting for? Get on the readability tests and determine whether your writing is suitable. If not, make it. It will only get better once you work on it (trust me).