Edit savagely

Edit savagely

The most important part of writing is rewriting.

For every sentence, ask: ‘Is that actually conveying to someone other than me what I mean for it to convey? Can I state it more succinctly, more concretely?’

@isabelg284

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Communication

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

The “curse of knowledge”

It is a cognitive bias that describes the fact that when you know something, it's very difficult to know what it's like not to know it.

The things you know seem so obvious to you and you assume that everyone else knows them too.

Test out your message

Seek feedback. What it's obvious to you might not be obvious to the others. 

Show your message to other people and have them honestly say how clear it is to them.

Choose your words carefully

Use words that will help people understand what you’re trying to say rather than words that are confusing or distracting.

Avoid using jargon, idioms and obscure metaphors.

Take a break

Write your message and put it aside. Come back to it after a while and read it again. 

It will give you a fresh perspective on it.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • A considerate writer will add a few words of explanation to common technical terms, such as Arabidopsis, a flowering mustard plant.
  • Readers will appreciate many examples when you explain an idea..
  • If you write a sentence that makes you pause and think about what it means, assume your readers might react the same way.
  • Before publishing your writing, take a few moments to ensure that what you write is clear and understandable.

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IDEAS

Write Like a Professional

Good writing comes from perfectionism; meaning it lets you identify what isn’t working and how to fix it, and the rewritings hone your technique. Perfectionism is fundamental when you may only have one chance to show your work to an agent or a publisher.

But you also need to stay optimistic, otherwise, you'll get depressed and quit.

Simple Sentences

English audiences prefer short sentences and a subject-verb-object order.

Avoid a huge series of modifying clauses and parenthesis before you reach the subject of the sentence, else the reader’s brain will be working harder to make sense of the sentence. Meanwhile, you’re distracting it by cramming ever more material into its working memory.

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