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5 Ways to Get Clarity in Your CopyWriting & Content

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Posted 2nd March 2015 at 06:05 PM by lorihil

When overdone it can be painful. Not only that, but it could also cost you business or readership.

5 Ways to Gain Clarity for Your Message:

1. Stop trying to sound so smart.
Listen, I'm a writer, and I like words more than your average gal. But, attempting to fit "Acquiesce" and "Chevelure," into your writing is just confusing and slows the reader down. (You're looking for a dictionary now aren't you!) If you are trying to confuse your reader *cough, politicians...then go ahead, otherwise skip such perplexing verbiage.

2. Take your work and KISS it!
In line with the last one, KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. I would not normally call you stupid; however, it's an excellent acronym that came out of the 1960's. Often used by designers and web developers, a great reminder for writers too.
I dare to venture that Earnest Hemingway would agree. If you are not convinced, check out this interesting article by Shane Snow, This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write.

3. Begin with the end.
Like the famous Lewis Carroll quote,
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
Are you confused with no definite direction? Then your readers will be too. To be honest, I have never been a huge fan of outlines. Writing papers in high school and college, I would often write the paper first, and then create an outline to go with it because it was a requirement. You need to write in a way that works for you, but you also have to know your desired outcome. What do you want the reader to do when he or she comes to the end of your content?

4. Stick to a voice, your voice.
If you are an avid reader, as I, it can be challenging to stay in your voice when writing. It is ok, even encouraged, to have writers, bloggers, and artists whose work you admire. Just make sure you are putting your own voice to your work and not sounding like you have multiple personalities, at least within the same piece. If you start an article out sounding like you are writing to your best friend and then try and sound like Gandhi, it is going to be unsettling to your reader.

5. Eliminate Distractions.
Anyone who writes knows that you cannot just turn it on and off, popping in and out of focus, without losing clarity. You know how it goes:
You write a sentence or two, and you're in "the zone." Things are flowing, you're glowing with a sense of accomplishment and then... the phone is ringing, the dog starts barking, and you just spilled coffee all over your pajamas (I know you're working in them).
You cannot prevent everything, but give your clarity a fighting chance. (Bonus tip: for greater clarity, avoid clich├ęs like "a fighting chance.")
Set aside some time to brainstorm, organize, and yes write.
But, remember, "We are not given time to write, we take it."
Writer's Digest: Make More Time for Writing
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