Forget wordy airs


If you want to write to be understood, then keeping in mind some of Joseph M. Williams' advice by reading Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace (This book has several additions. I'm referencing the 3rd edition).

The first lesson within this book made me recognize that I often write for myself to understand a concept, rather than anyone else to understand it. I forget that words I see as commonplace in my vocabulary aren't words that other people might use, or even know. This practice then just serves to confuse my readers and likely think I live in my own crazy world. (Which I do, but that's not the point.) So if I want everyone to understand what I write, I need to write (which can be harder than it seems sometimes) and then revise, revise, revise.

Williams' approach to the revising process is a wise one in my opinion: "If you think about these principles as you draft, you may never finish drafting anything. Most experienced writers get something down on paper or up on the screen as fast as they can. Then as they rewrite that first draft into something clearer, they understand their ideas better."

So my own new advice to follow is "Write for me to understand, then revise and revise for everyone to understand it. 'Cause no one likes to read what they don't understand!"

A good question is, did you understand this blog, or would you like some additional views on the subject?


I read in another class that just getting something on paper is better than tyring to headwrite or revise in your head also. I found it actually works.

Maddie, I really struggle with the revision process. Not that I don't enjoy marking up other peoples' papers, but I feel that the words I write initially are right and I don't like re-reading and editing what I have written... but I think your advice in this blog is sound... about writing how you want to write, then going back and making it clear. Thanks for the tip! :)

Leave a comment