Dec 7, 2012

On Clear Writing

Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it's because it is hard (Zinsser, 2006)
That is from the paper "Reflections on the Craft of Clear Writingby Roy Suddaby, Editor of the Academy of Management Review (July 2012)
He adds:
. . . [C]lear writing is all about rewriting. As Zinsser explains, “Rewriting is the essence of writing well; it's where the game is won or lost. That idea is hard to accept. We all have emotional equity in our first draft; we can't believe it wasn't born perfect” (2006: 83). The process of clear writing helps us sharpen our ideas. It can also illuminate flaws in our logic or approach. When we drill down to the core of our ideas, we may discover a diamond in the rough or a lump of coal. If it is coal, don't try to pass it off as a diamond. Start fresh. Part with your words; it is part of the process. As Zinsser points out, “You won't write well until you understand that writing is an evolving process, not a finished product” (2006: 84).

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