The Single Reason Why People Can't Write, According to a Harvard Psychologist
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The root cause of bad writing is struggling to imagine what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. Whenever writing is loaded with jargon, clichés, technical terms, and abbreviations, two questions come to mind:
When we become good at our job or hobby, we use catchwords to shorten long-winded descriptions that we have become very familiar with.
The problem is that these catchwords become automatic. While we think these words would facilitate our communication, we forget that our readers may not understand the concepts behind these shortened words.
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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.
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.
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Treat the reader as an equal. If you’re trying to impress, at best you will make the reader feel dumb. And nobody likes to feel dumb.
Once you know something you assume others do too. It’s human nature. And that leads to bad writing.
'The curse of knowledge' refers to the inability that we all have in imagining what it’s like not to know something that we do know.
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You need to have a beginning that builds to a middle and an ending, or at least an idea of where you’re going, as it is key to explore your themes and foreshadow things properly.
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Without the surprise, without the twist, if you don’t pull the wool over the audience’s eyes, then it’s unlikely you’re going to be memorable. It’s precisely the fact that things are not what they seem that makes a story interesting.
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