General

PRINCIPLE OF WRITING

Temitope Adeyanju Written by Temitope Adeyanju · 1 min read >

Writing either formerly or otherwise comes at different level of convenience and so there is no one way of writing. There are different types of writers with different kinds of method. The most important thing is to use the method that suits you, that help you say what you want to say, bring out the best in you. You need to know the principle.

Some writers write by day, others by night; while some love it in cool, quiet environment, others cannot write until they turn on music. Still some would write at a stretch for hours before revising, others won’t progress to the next paragraph until they are satisfied editing the first.

Interestingly, no matter the method that works for you, all writers are plagued with the same tension; they all want to put a part of themselves on paper. And that is where the ‘transaction’ principle in writing comes in. Here the transaction is the enthusiasm, emotion, clarity and strength a writer put in his writing that makes people want to read. It involves the humanity and warmth the writer puts in his writeups.

SIMPLICITY – THE SECRET PRINCIPLE OF WRITING:

You can never go wrong with being simple in your writeups. So you must learn to use simple words to explain things; stripe every sentence to its simplest form. Remove words that have no function and replace long word with short ones that has same meaning.

In essence, be free of clutter – the weed in writeup. Always remember, that readers have a short span of attention, it is thus your responsibility to hold your readers attention. How can you do that? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to say?
  • Have I said it?
  • Is it clear to someone who is meeting the subject for the first time?

Your ability to say yes to all these questions above will show if you are simple in your writing.

AVOID CLUTTER IN YOUR WRITING

Clutter is the laborious phrase that pushes out the short word that has same meaning. A secret I just learnt is that, writing improves in direct proportion to the number of things we keep out of it, that shouldn’t be there in the first place. So instead of saying ‘my personal friend’ say ‘my friend’; instead of ‘at this point in time we are experiencing precipitation’ say ‘it is raining’.

Do you observe in the above examples that the later is simpler and easy to retain by you? Now imagine your readers, how easy your writeups will be if you avoid clutters.

The principle here is to re-examine each sentence, is every word in the sentence doing a new work? can any thought be expressed with economy of words? Is anything on your writeup pretentious? If there is kindly take it out.

Remember, you are not intelligent simply because you sound so with the use of heavy or professional words. As my boss use to say, ‘you really know something only if you can explain it to a child and the child have an understanding of it’.

Reference: William Zinsser, ‘On writing well, 30th anniversary edition’

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