Article Writing with Simplicity and Clarity
Article Writing: Start One Sentence at a Time
Writing for some is a great source of anxiety. For the most part it really has nothing to do with the actual act of putting words to paper, though that is often how it is expressed.
It really has more to do with trying to figure out what to write about. For many the metaphor is sitting there alone on the rock overlooking that overwhelming vista of the canyons and valleys below. What to make of it all? Where do you go from your perch? VertigoÖlet me find my way back to low secure ground.
Well maybe the thing to do is pick one point of contact. A house on the hillside below or a flower laden pasture may do just fine. Then get up and find the path that gets you there, one step at a time.
The same holds true for writing your article. Look at your idea, business concept; find your audience through careful observation or research; feel what they feel, know what they are looking for and then start communicating one sentence at a time.
How to Write a Simple Sentence
Your first sentence, usually your headline is the most important. Why you ask? Because it has to have all the right attributes of good communication. A clear subject (usually your reader), a verb (action that relates to the reader) and an object (usually the problem or solution that defines your reader).
That sentence is simple. It has no qualifiers to muddy the idea flow. It is natural in tone. It uses words easy to understand; no fancy spelling or need to explain anything. The reader knows instantly what the message means to him/her and what is expected. The message is clear.
How to Communicate with Clarity
In the words of Professor Strunk, ìclarity is not a prize in writing, nor is it always the principal mark of good style. But since writing is communication, clarity can only be a virtue.î
In other words, if you want to get cute or metaphorical, be clear about it. When your sentences start running long, you may want to take a break, take a look, and start over.
Getting lost in the fog of a long winded pitch means you have lost your focus and your audience. Go back and read your words aloud. See how they sound and see how they feel. Then re-chart your course and start writing again.
It is not easy to be clear and simple. It took the artist Picasso about forty years to get his depiction of a bull down to three lines on a canvass. It can take more than a few re-writes to craft your message with as few words as possible.
The great achievement of learning how to write simple and clear messages is that you will be in perfect communication with your audience. That means you will understand who they are, what they are thinking, why they are thinking what they are thinking and what they will do to act on your message.
And is not that what your goal is in the first place; to connect with your intended audience and establish a relationship?
So do your thinking up front and build your message one sentence at a time; remember, simple and clearly focused.