How to Write Clear and Concise Content

How does one write well?

In his book On Writing Well, William Zinsser said the following:

“Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”

Writing is hard. You will never be a “writing expert.” Writing is an art; it takes practice.

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Zinsser also stressed that as a writer you must present a clear and concise copy to your audience. Your work should be to the point, yet comprehensive to your readers. But, how can you achieve both?  Here are some tips I adhere to when writing:

Keep your sentences short

Keep your words, sentences, and paragraphs as short as you can. If you write directly, you will keep your reader’s interest. No one wants to read run-on sentences; it may steer them off track. Keeping your sentences short will also keep your readers engaged. It’s a certain tempo that will excite them and will result in gaining their interest to read more.

Write how you talk

Be yourself and stick to your own voice. Use words you know, or else you’ll confuse yourself and your readers. Writing how you talk will personalize your content, and readers will stay connected to you. I find it best to write like you are having a conversation with a friend. You don’t need convoluted sentences to get your point across. Stay true to yourself, and your readers will stay true to you.

Avoid unnecessary words and phrases

Eliminate words that cause a lull in your work, like adverbs and adjectives. Words like “very” or phrases like “it’s crucial to,” or “in order to,” bury your important information. Getting rid of these words or phrases sharpens and cleans up your content. Adjectives and adverbs are often unnecessary; you can remove certain words and still get your point across.

Check your facts

The last thing you want to do as a writer is to portray false information to your readers. The notion to “back up your facts” was ingrained in our brains throughout grade school. Not everything you read is true, so you need to use a credible source if you are presenting facts or statistics in your content. If you throw around false information, then you will lose your readers and your credibility as a writer.

Revise and rewrite

All the time. If you want to provide clear and concise content, you need to proofread.  Read your content 3-4 times. Check for spelling, grammatical errors, tone, and consistency. Nothing can devalue your work and reputation faster than publishing error-ridden content. Edit and create clean copy; it will strengthen your writing and will build trust among your readers.

As you digest these tips, remember to have your own style when you write. These practices are helpful, but you don’t want to write like a robot. Bring your own flair to your writing. Readers don’t want boring content!

Did I miss anything? Feel free to share practices you keep to produce clear and concise copy!