A piece of content has 3 responsibilities:
- Inform and educate an audience
- Do that in an easy to understand manner without distracting or boring the reader
- Keep the reader reading until the end
Also, your writing shouldn’t jeopardise the quality of the subject by:
- Insulting a reader’s intellect and analytical capacities
- Underestimating a reader’s breadth of knowledge
- Assuming that the reader knows what you’re talking about
Writing with clarity is all about designing your idea to be simple, comprehensible, and memorable.
Today, you’ll learn:
- The exact process to attain clarity before you start writing
- Exercises to strengthen your message
- How to play with adverbs to make your writing more powerful
What’s the one thing you need to write with clarity
Your ability to break an idea into simpler sub-ideas to help the reader absorb information easily – is writing with clarity. It’s having to anatomize your thought.
To write clearly, your mind should watch your thoughts slow down, sit and settle. It’s like snorkeling. Too many suspended particles affect your visibility. So you wait for the water to settle down. Likewise, to write with clarity, you should wait, think and understand clearly.
Understanding an idea happens in 3 stages:
- Acknowledgment – Introspecting your idea and taking the liberty to understand what happens when you agree/disagree
- Organization – Logical structuring of your ideas with the help of a clear goal and outline to steer your writing.
- Mapping – Drawing relevance. This is where all the connection happens. The place where you say – “Makes sense!”
Example: Connecting the subheadings to the main idea so that you don’t deviate from the subject and stay focused.
Without the above steps, it becomes impossible to bring your ideas to life.
If you follow the above process, you can bring clarity to your writing — one sentence at a time.
6 Tips strengthen your message
- Use power words that evoke a feeling, emotion or stimulate a response
- Kill your favorite sentence mercilessly if you think it confuses your reader
- Eliminate filler words
- Carry out several rounds of edits to make sure your writing is clear, has a flow, and gets to the point quickly
- Replace big words with simple, smaller, and unambiguous words.
- Replace adverbs with stronger, better verbs.
How to use adverbs smartly
If you are using an adverb, you have got the verb wrong. – Kingsley Amis
Adverbs weaken your writing by sucking the energy out of a phrase. Adverbs make your writing bleak and powerless which can bore your reader.
But how do you avoid using adverbs? By replacing (adverb + verb) with a better verb.
- She sighed irritatingly in pain and despair.
- She groaned in pain and despair.
What sounds better to you?
In the second example, the better verb has a stronger effect because that word was created with just one purpose – evoke the emotion it evokes. Also, it just sounds good. And writing well is also about sounding good.
But there are times when adverbs are a must to set the context. Sometimes, you’ve got to describe your verb more accurately to narrate the situation. And these are the only times you should pledge to use adverbs to make your writing stronger – to read your emotion.
The company urged the employees to avoid misusing the resources.
This sentence implies that the employees are/were/could be irresponsible in using the resources and hence the company issued a notice.
The company urged the employees to use the resources sparingly.
The above sentence sets the context. Why did they mention sparingly? Is the company running losses? Are they running out of resources? Is replenishing their resources becoming a big problem? The readers put on their thinking caps instantly and that’s exactly what you want as a writer.
You see – one adverb could imply so much more meaning when used smartly. So, choose your adverbs wisely.
When your message is clear, you naturally attract followers who’re eager to hear and learn from you. They listen to you and you matter to them. This is how you build authority with clear messaging.
Questions on clear messaging? Let’s figure it out in the comments!