Each time I pen an article, I work to hone my skill of expression just a little more.
There’re multiple facets that call for one’s attention.
First and foremost is staying on point. Deciding what the overall message is to be, then working to keep on it as best you’re able. That said, most folks aren’t looking for “driving force.” They want you to get to the point, but making a related stop here and there, generally won’t dissuade them from pressing on.
If you divert for a moment, the aside should generally be either very short, or something that connects to your main point. If it can be both, all the better.
You may question how what I’m saying relates to religion, politics, or the underlying theme for both, philosophy.
The point here is, clear, concise, readable or listenable communication is a skill everyone should seek to attain and achieve. That’s especially true for those working to explore religion, politics and philosophy.
Yes, what you say is technically the most important thing, but if you express things in ways that aren’t clear and engaging, for many, you may’s well be speaking a foreign tongue.
When a politician, a pundit or any other type of author or speaker, comes out with an offering that’s mealy-mouthed or lacking coherence, it’s highly likely people will tune out. And frankly, who can blame them?
There tend to be two problems common to many creating various types of verbal content. The first is not making sure what’s put out there is driven towards a theme or set thereof.
Imagine going to a conference where someone’s supposed to teach you how to make the perfect cupcake. The keynote speaker makes his way to the stage, then spends all his time on just about anything but baking. Forget cupcakes, he doesn’t even talk about things related to cooking.
I think in that situation most of the attendees would be well within their prerogative, to leave the conference, labeling it a flop, and asking for their attendance fee back on the way out the door.
And you can imagine the reviews! “I haven’t spent my money on anything less worth my time in years.” one might read.
So the point here is, stay on topic, again, not to say you can never wander, so long as you’re careful to relate your wayward travels or keep them short.
Now imagine the same conference, but instead of not talking about making the perfect tiny cake, the speaker manages to put the entire audience to sleep in ten minutes.
Just as with the orator who never made his way to the intended subject, the snooze maker would leave you feeling as though your hard earned cash had been stolen.
Yes, you attended the main speech, but you have no idea what was said, since you were asleep for most of it.
“What did I get from that speech? Nothing!” you might be inclined to think, and fairly, you’d be pretty justified in doing so.
In some senses, it’s even easier to bore or underwhelm your reader in print. To say nothing of causing them to plod through nigh unto unreadable jargon, badly formed thoughts, or fragmented sentences.
Why? Because the visual activity possible when in front of a crowd, can be sufficiently stimulating to keep things alive. Further, when somebody’s rehearsed his or her speech, it’ll likely come out more naturally than if someone’s attempting to decipher weak ramblings on a page
Have you ever watched a movie and thought, “So-and-so’s dialog was horrible, but she’s so good an actress that she pulled it all together. The result was amazing. If only the writer had done a better job.”?
This is one of the differences between speaking and writing. When you speak, you can go off script, you can make a boring subject interesting by peppering what you say with anecdotes. There are so many ways to make things seem more exciting, even if the subject is as dry as the Sahara.
When you write, you’re much more limited in what you can do to spice things up. Further, as a rule, that task is left to the one cranking out the text. You certainly have options, but not as many.
There are traps both speech writers and authors writing things to be read instead of spoken, should seek to avoid.
An example would be overuse of a given word or turn of phrase. I’m far too often guilty of this, particularly before I’ve read one of my pieces multiple times. By the time you’ve seen something scribbled out by my hand, chances are (particularly as I write more and more) it’s been read at least three or four times. In my perusal of a given essay, I find things that are clunky. Too, I find that I’ve used some word or set of them far more than I should’ve.
It’s fine to have a style, but diversity of language will help your readers slobber less since hopefully, they won’t feel the need to nap on your work.
I also find myself guilty at times, of making a thought far too lengthy. I’ll use common expressions without thought, resulting in my rambling on incessantly. To be fair, I suppose I do that anyway.
Sometimes it’s the result of tacking on unnecessary additions. At others, it might be things like the overuse of a word like “that.”
This is why my going over that written after it’s complete is from an idea perspective, so powerful.
There was a time when I would worry that I wouldn’t “hit my target,” that I’d fail to get to the desired “word count.” What I’ve found is, I’m so prone to overachieve, that taking things out is more necessary than trying to reach my (artificially established) quota.
Here’s the point of this piece though. One of the absolute most important abilities you’ll ever acquire is that of getting some message across to others without boring them to tears or leaving them bewildered as to what you had in mind to purvey. If you can manage that, many other parts of life will suddenly become a good deal simpler.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.