Good writing demands clear thinking. In my experience as a journalist, copywriter and technical writer, I’ve learned that it’s impossible to write about something unless you know it inside and out, forward and backward.
I’m not talking about writing stories, screenplays or poetry. I’m talking about business writing — writing to inform, explain, persuade, motivate and/or sell.
Michael Covington of the University of Georgia believes the world is run by people who can communicate, and that clear thinking leads to good writing. Covington has condensed his thoughts into a PowerPoint- style presentation for the web, titled “How To Write More Clearly, Think More Clearly and Learn Complex Material More Easily.”
He points out that a good writer works hard, so that the reader doesn’t have to. Covington explains there are five steps to good writing:
- Planning (deciding what & how to write)
- Drafting (getting it on paper once)
- Revising (getting it on paper better)
- Editing (fixing spelling, grammar, typing)
- Formatting (choosing typefaces, layout, etc.)
If you find it a struggle to communicate what you mean to your colleagues, customers, vendors, staff or superiors, check it out. It might “clear” things up.