Andy Hawthorne

Andy Hawthorne

Projects, photos and running

27 Jun 2020

Why I Am Writing About Writing

Reading time: 3 minute(s) - 500 words

I like writing. And I like reading about writing. But writing about writing? I tend to avoid that, or I used to.

But then I decided to write a post about writing. The next thought was: yeah, but what writing topic will I cover?

The answer? Simplicity. Yep, I decided to write about keeping writing simple.

Why?

Because too much writing is overblown. I get tired of reading stuff that’s complex because the writer thought it should be.

I’m not in a position to tell anyone how to write. I wouldn’t dream of it. But I do believe in the power of words. And I see examples every day of prose that needs to breathe.

A few years ago, I completed a journalism course. The rules around writing news reports stuck with me. So when I edit anything I’ve written, I’m looking to:

  • Strip unnecessary words
  • Change long words for shorter ones
  • Remove adverbs where the same meaning is already in the verb
  • Remove any instances of passive voice

I figure that if I do that, I’ll have a decent piece of writing.

The other half of the job is to write about something interesting.

Right, we know what we are about. Here’s the thing: to write clear prose you need to think with clarity.

If your thinking is not clear, your writing has no chance. It won’t be clear. And your message is in the wind.

There is some good news. Staying on point is easy. All you have to do is ask: what am I tying to say?

I often write with the purpose of the piece at the top of the page. So that I don’t deviate from that point.

I’ve chosen to write about writing because I do have something to offer. Many may not agree with me. That’s fine.

I’m not trying to teach anyone. I’m making a point that writing doesn’t have to be verbose. That’s it.

But in doing so, I would suggest that for the next thing you read, see how simple it could be. When you strip the extra words and use short words.

I reckon you’ll surprised how much stuff you’ll find that could do with a coat of simplicity.

Does all writing have to plain and simple? I don’t see why not. Why would you want to write something your readers find difficult to read?

There are writing formats for different types of writing. So you choose the right format for the piece you are writing. But that still doesn’t mean you should write like you have a dictionary stuck up your arse. Dictionaries are amazing books, they are better off next to you as you write.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for now. I’ve made my point. Now I need to edit this post before I publish it.

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