A writer knows the precious value of every word used in creating worthy to read content. A simple worded story will reach through to more people than a jargon-filled novel. Yes, each one of us wants to sound smart and, that can even be achieved through high-quality content and simple language. Content is king, may sound cliché but holds the bitter truth. If I write something of no meaning and fill it with attractive words, then it’s worthless content.
The beauty of anything lies in its simplicity, and that applies to writing as well. The reader wants to get lost in the story and part in the language. Not the other way around. Simple words should be used wherever possible. Jargon usage for a non-scientific or non-research paper will make it hard for the reader to stay focused all the way through.
In the book “Write” by Vandana Sehgal she expediates how it is important to stay focused on one idea while writing and not get muddled in by too many theories. Her book propounds the fact that a clear message paves way for a clean cut and easy to understand language.
Some tips to keep it simple:
Check keywords and their alternative: If you feel you are using too many big words, check the thesaurus for alternative simpler words. When using jargon, avoid repetition of words like “and”, “as”, “but”, because these words tend to stretch, making the sentence look bigger.
Read More: this is the only answer that works to the question of what differentiates good writers from great. Read until you start recognizing which word usage will be appropriate and which ones won’t.
Brush up on vocabulary: this is an exercise I would recommend to all authors and one that they should practice regularly. If you are serious about writing as a profession, this is the key. A good author should know why fancy words in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” worked and why simple words did the trick for R.K. Narayan’s “Swami and Friends”.
Avoid Instagram lingo: a cardinal mistake many authors do. It’s recommended to keep the internet lingo out of the blog/book or an article. Do not bring any informal spoken language in your write up. It ruins the sanctity of the message and indicates that the writer is not serious about the work. Fulfil the desperation to connect with the reader through meaningful content instead of meaningless language.
Practice writing micro tales: practice brings perfection. There was a recent research article on writing, where it mentions that a good writer has at least written fifty thousand words! While you do not need to set a target of such a high word count, you can start by writing a hundred words every day. It can be a micro tale, a poem, a non-fiction piece or anything that tugs your heart. But write. Start the journey. You will have something to edit when you write. Post the writing part, read what you have written multiple times to understand where you stand in terms of language and grammar.
Take second opinion: showing your work to another writer (preferably a better writer) will tell if you are coming through to readers. Many times, we think we are clear in our message, but it could be possible that the reader is unable to comprehend what you are conveying.
Edit ruthlessly: there is an open secret usually ignored by authors to save on cost. The key to a good novel is a deep understanding of editing rules. That is not just about subtracting unwanted words but also adding and replacing them with the right words. Edit multiple times if required. The more you focus on the editing, the better the language quality. One has to bear in mind here about the right amount of editing needed for every write up. I usually do a minimum of three rounds of editing, before I could say “yes, now it’s ready to read.” As mentioned by the very wonderful writer Vandana Sehgal in the book “Write”, give yourself a couple of days break before you edit the manuscript. It will allow you to see the story in its unfiltered form. She also mentions the fact that for better results, one can consult a professional editor.
Lastly, if you are in love with writing, you want to continue walking on this path as much long as it takes. The suggestions above would help you to enjoy your journey than leaving you burned-out. These were some of the points at the top of my mind for writing with simple language. Usually, these help me in keeping the language crisp and producing reader-friendly content. You can check as a writer which of these work for you.
Arti is a writer and author of the book “Of Rains And More”. She has always written since a young age and feels that she was born to write. She is a mother to two tiny tots and is based in Mumbai.