Do you get stuck sometimes? You get an Idea, and you know what to write, but when we open a Word document, the words don’t flow. Then we blame it on the writer’s bloc.
We’re still confused about what we want to communicate. We wrestle with complexity and are not productive enough. These few simple principles can help you distil your ideas’ essence and execute them efficiently.
Start with the right question
Ever feel like an idea is too multi-faceted with threads of thoughts moving in all directions? And you can’t figure out how to weave all these ideas together into one coherent piece of content? Step back and isolate one simple question.
Let’s say you want to write a post about how to build a thriving business online. This question is complex and unwieldy.
Firstly, what type of online business are we talking about? Promoting a freelance writing business online is different from building a Software-as-a-Service business.
Secondly, when you want to know about building an online business, do you want to learn more about business processes or marketing tactics or about picking the right idea?
So, instead of trying to answer all ideas in one go, start with one simple question. Write about how to generate business ideas, how to do a quick feasibility study, or how to pick one business idea.
To simplify your ideas, simplify your question first.
The principle of cutting away the clutter to clarify an idea sounds straightforward.
But what is clutter? When is nuance helpful and when does nuance become clutter?
Imagine a remote control with only an on/off button. It’s simple, but not very useful, is it? To add more functionality, you need more buttons, so complexity increases. But how many buttons does a remote control need? The answer depends on the user’s wishes and what product he wants to control.
A similar tension exists in writing. How simple can you make your message? When have you cleared so much clutter that your content becomes meaningless?
To understand when nuance becomes clutter, think about your reader. What information is essential so he can understand your ideas and follow your advice?
Rewrite to bring clarity
Re-writing simply requires taking a step back and then looking at your ideas again with fresh eyes. What’s the aim of your idea? And how can you simplify your writing to achieve that aim?
Remember, simplicity is hard to achieve.
For example, one blog post has the perfect length to answer one simple question.
But what if your readers ask complex questions? And what if you want to help them make sense of complexity?
This is where the organization comes in. Let’s think about a book. Each chapter of a book answers one simple question. Together, these chapters answer a bigger question. Once you’ve answered the simple questions, answering a big question becomes easier. A matter of organization.
When you are wrestling with a difficult topic, you need to start scribbling. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Even writing down a few words and drawing arrows can help clarify your thoughts.