Writing, clear thinking and simplicity

Storytelling on Themba Jay

I feel that writing forces the mind to think way clearer than it otherwise would.

Having to edit ruthlessly and toss out what’s unnecessary to preserve the soul of your message — to make it both simpler and striking, turns you into a curator of sorts. That job needs your clearest thinking. The relentless asking of, “What parts can my story do without?”

As a curator goes about her job, she needs to decide what art pieces go onto the wall for the show and which ones get left at the back. Of course, even the ones not hung out front are as important as the work that gets displayed.

It is easy to have copious amounts of content in your work that says nothing much.

That’s why it is a tragedy to have Writers and Bloggers who think of pandering to search engines and thus decide on those terms how much words suffice for a single blog post. Even when someone has said their point emphatically in, say, 300 words, they still feel the need to reach the 500 wordcount. So they waffle, diluting their story.

So, I always aim to write stories that get to the point. I achieve this by pushing to be as succinct as possible. I make peace with the fact that telling a good story does not hinge on how long it is. Insight: as Writers, brevity is the skill we need to learn and master.

If I may: can you sell an idea, put a point across effectively, in a single sentence? If not, start learning how to do that.

Because when we focus on what’s essential, for audiences, the act of them reading such illuminating material, written to convey what matters and done with simplicity, it elevates and nourishes their minds and hearts in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.