Our own writing always seems clearer to us than to our readers because we read into it what we want them to get out of it. And so instead of revising our writing to meet their needs, we send it off the moment it meets ours.
Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (Twelfth Edition), Joseph M. Williams & Joseph Bizup
As writers, we can often get bogged down in what we thought we wrote that we don’t bother to stop and see our content from the reader’s perspective. Will it make sense to someone without subject matter expertise? Is the language plain and clear enough for the general public? Will employees understand this new policy that prohibits them from wearing Hawaiian shirts to the workplace on the third Tuesday of every month?
How often have your eyes glazed over a long string of technical terms and wordiness that would take too much effort to untangle? Chances are, it’s not an uncommon experience for most of us. Blocks after blocks of unwieldy and confusing text could cure even the most severe case of insomnia. Don’t put people to sleep with your writing. (Unless that is your intent, in which case, rock on.)
Writing clearly takes time and patience. It’s a skill that requires consistent practice. But many people don’t have the time or inclination to hone their writing skills. Just like any craft, not everyone can become an expert at everything. If you need someone to translate your gobbledy-gook into plain language, I’m the word nerd for you.
I can develop content for:
- Annual reports and other business reports
- Policies & Procedures documents
- User or training manuals
- How-to guides
Illustration by Melanie Luther