5 Tips for Clarity in Writing

One of the best ways to test a new idea is to write it down.  First, it is inexpensive.  Second, it starts to give you a way to start owning it.  And third, it helps clarify the idea.

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Clarity is vital when trying to convey a new idea.  Think about it.  New ideas require more understanding than old ones.  For example, a "run-flat wheel" is quick understood.  But, "a car tire that doesn't require to be inflated because of a polycarbonate crosshatch network that is contralateral to an interior ribbing system" requires the reader to struggle more.  And the more a reader struggles to learn, the more that the reader will not understand what you want to convey.  
How can we increase clarity in our writing?  

1. Use simple words.  When people use heavily technical language, it makes it more difficult for investors, employers, and ultimately consumers to understand what it means.  Not to be insulting to anyone's education level, but write using words that a 10-12 year old understands.  

2. Use simple sentences.  Like using simple words, write in short understandable sentences.  It takes a LOT more work to write something in a simple to understand way, than to write long sentences with big words that on you and your colleagues would understand.  Take the extra time to consider what your second grade teacher would think in reading what you write.  Are your writings full of run-on sentences, or are you writing in simple sentences that allow your reader to take a mental break at each period?

3. Read it out loud.  Most people will never do this, but reading what you wrote out loud will help you see what is truly needed.  Could you eliminate words?  Do you need a better transition?  Does your writing really make sense?  

4. Share it with someone you trust.  How often have you written something, read through it, and later found out you wrote the wrong word?  Or, how often have you been easily able to edit someone else's writing?  It is because you "knew" what you meant to write, so you can easily gloss over errors in your writing.  Share what you write with someone you trust and get their feedback for errors and understanding.

5. Write More Often.  Skills improve with practice.  Don't be afraid to get writing when you have a new idea.  You'll soon find it easier to convey your thoughts to paper, and thus to others.  

And yes, I practiced each of these steps with this article.  (Hopefully my friend and I caught any errors.)  

*And the reading level of the above scored a 6th grade reading level (10-12 year olds) on each of the Flesch-Kincaid reading level test, the SMOG Index, the Automated Readability Index, and the Linsear Write Formula.