Simple Rules For Improving Your Writing: One

by Randy Murray on April 18, 2011

Writing is a craft. Almost anyone can learn to write and communicate clearly. Yes, talent can help, but learning the basics and focusing on the fundamentals of writing can help you improve.

This week I’ll provide some short, effective tools you can use to help you write and build upon your skills.

Today, the Rule of One:  Just One Thing.

Many attempts at writing go astray when the writer tries to introduce and deal with too many topics and ideas. It takes great skill and clarity of mind to deal successfully with multiple ideas simultaneously and not confuse or confound the reader. One, by itself, is the successful unit for ideas.

Your sentences should have a single, direct thought. Your paragraphs build upon this and are a single point, a thought, with illustrations. And your entire piece, regardless of length, builds upon this.

Restricting a piece of writing to a single idea does not mean that your writing has to be unadorned or bland. In fact, keeping your writing focused may allow you to reveal more of your personality. When you free yourself from juggling multiple ideas and thoughts you allow space to develop your points more thoroughly and completely.

When you master this technique you can break this rule, but you do so at your own risk.

Writing well and focusing on a central, single thesis, on just one idea, is not a simple thing to master. When I find that a piece that I’m writing isn’t working it’s often because I’m trying to handle too many ideas. Stripping it back to a single, central idea is often what helps me to build a successful piece.


Simple Rules For Improving Your Writing: Two

The Simple Rules For Improving Your Writing: One by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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