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Writing well? How do I know?

February 15, 2011

How do we know when we have written well? When the reader doesn’t notice our writing at all. It is so transparent that the reader is completely engrossed in what we have to say, and is not distracted by errors, typos, or any awkwardness in presentation. That is a piece that is well written. So how do we judge this? After all, trying to spot your own good work is as hard as spotting your own mistakes. If not harder. This is a matter for the craft business of writing. We can be reasonably sure our writing is ‘readable’ if we have played by the basic reading rules:

  • no distractions (odd words, difficult passages, irrelevant information, common errors and typos).
  • good layout (structure, whitespace, effective headings, well-linked paragraphs).

When all these elements come together in a piece it flows well and is (dare we say it) a pleasure to read. So, how do we know if we have written something well? When there is a deafening silence as the reader moves on to the next piece of work. Ideally with an inward tingle of satisfaction.

One Comment leave one →
  1. janepenson permalink*
    February 15, 2011 15:15

    Like the temperature in a room, the volume of background music, the salt in the spaghetti sauce or the tightness of your belt; when it is right, you don’t think about it.

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