Tag Archives: clarity

IWSG 38: Clarity in Writing

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Tamara Narayan | Pat Hatt
Patricia Lynne | Juneta Key | Doreen McGettigan|


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned  since you started writing?

My nightmare could be summed up with these simple words: “I know what you wrote, but what do you mean?”

Clarity seems simple:

But when I was younger, and I heard this phrase, I would become incensed. How could someone—anyone—not understand what I mean? I wrote poetry and to me it was the simplest of art forms. I couldn’t paint, act, play a musical instrument, or sing. But I could put a few words down and the person would feel something.

We’d connect.

So when I wrote longer works, how did I lose my clarity?

Struggling for Eloquence:

I knew what I thought and what I wanted to say, but there were many times when I didn’t use the right word.

Over time and with the help of a few kind and patient soles, I learned how to select the right words. It wasn’t easy, and it took a fair amount of stubbornness on my part.

It turns out I’m a minimalist too:

It goes against my instincts to write so much down. What I’ve learned is first sentence is a topic sentence and there is no harm in expanding a thought with more detail.

Another thing is to let my work rest long enough for the internal movie to disappear. Then when I re-read my work I see the glaring gaps and choppy sections for myself.

I know my flaws and what to look for when doing my read through. My readers get what I mean now. Some think my writing isn’t too bad, but I still ask for help.

Beta Readers:

Sometimes I still don’t see my mistakes and my beta readers are such a blessing. It isn’t their job to guess at what I mean.

What lengths do you go to for clarify your work?

Any shortcuts you’d like to share?