“The point of writing is not just to be understood, but to make it impossible to be misunderstood.”
Cicero, Roman Orator.
Having clicked on the link, the odds are that you are a writer. It’s not necessary that you need to be a novelist or a journalist, to be called a writer. Simply put, a writer is someone who writes. You may be writing letters, reports, memos, daily diary, or even the annual Christmas cards, you are a writer nevertheless. Now, the question arises that whether, it’s even possible to learn how to improve our writing skills. Despite the popular belief that writing is a god-given talent, I’d say yes, everyone can learn to improve their writing skills. All it takes are two very simple principles, namely, the 3Cs, and the 3Ps.
The 3Cs: Your writing needs to be Crisp, Concise and Coherent.
The 3Ps: Planning, Preparation and Perseverance.
Let’s go ahead and try to understand each of them, individually.
The 3 Cs: I remember getting a letter from my bankers, updating me about the change in one of their policies, about maintaining the minimum balance in the account. The reason why they chose me, to be among the first ones of their customers, to send that update is evident from the fact that my account balance, almost always, falls below the minimum permissible limit of shame. Anyway, coming back to the letter, a part of it, read something like this:
‘We will not charge the $10 and $15 fee, if the minimum quarterly balance in your account, is at least $250, during the period we put the charge. If you only choose to pay a charge, resulting from the charge you earlier paid, in the previous charging period, we will promptly refund the charge, if you bring the error in charging to our notice.’
WHAT? Sorry, Mr. Banker, but you lost me at, well, ab-initia. Needless to say, that I ultimately, had to talk to one of their customer service representatives, and make her explain the context of this gobbledegook letter to me, in plain English. What they wanted to inform me was, that henceforth, if my account balance falls below $250, the bank will be levying a fee of $10, in the first instance, and $15, in case of any subsequent instance, and that I should inform them immediately, in case of any erroneous fee, and they will refund the same to me. 49 words, as against 65, in their letter.
This explains the need for the 3Cs, which are, Crisp, Concise and Coherent. Try to be absolutely clear and Crisp, in your writing. A good way to do this, is to write, like you speak- just make it shorter and tighter. Remember, the 10 commandments are written in just 130 words, while the whole American Declaration of Independence, consists of just 485 words. Be a miser, in using your words. Remember KISS- Keep It Short & Simple.
I shall cover the principle of 3Ps, in my next post, very soon. Meanwhile, please feel free to leave valued comments, in the ‘Contact Me’ section of this site. This way I can also send you a one-liner mail, as and when I come up with a new book, or another interesting blog post.
*Be enlightened, keep reading*