The 5 Cs of Effective Writing

Writing is a part of life; it is something we do every day. From drafting a proposal, to writing a research project, outlining a business plan, sending a memo, composing an email, presenting a letter, filing a report or simply sending a text message, we all engage in one form of writing or the other. Writing can be a fun and enjoyable task but it can also be intimidating and daunting. We struggle to write, not because we lack ideas. The struggle comes from challenges surrounding the construction of well-formed sentences and arrangement of these sentences in a logical manner.

There are times you read an article and think to yourself “wow, I would love to write like this.” In other cases, you struggle to decipher the message and probably shake your head in disappointment. What distinguishes a good writer from a bad one? Why do some articles stand out solely based on the style of writing? Are there some rules to adhere to when writing?  To be a successful writer, it is first and foremost important that you practice at any given opportunity. To master the craft, you must be willing to practice. Writing effectively does not happen overnight.  Below are 5 C’s to writing better (clarity, concise, correct, complete and coherence).

 

Clarity

“It is not enough to write so that you can be understood. You must write so that you cannot be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your writing must be clear. Irrespective of your niche or targeted audience, ensure that you write legibly. Clarity adds value to your writing; readers can comprehend what is required of them much quicker and with less effort. Ask yourself if your readers can easily understand your message. To write clearly, you must think clearly. You must think clearly about the topic to communicate it effectively.  Failure to know and fully understand what you are writing about makes your writing weak, unintelligent and insubstantial. However, when you fully comprehend your topic, the clarity of your writing is automatically reflected in your well-thought-out ideas. When writing, avoid ambiguous words; cut meaningless words; use simple words; do away with filler words (such as ‘um’ ‘uh,’ ‘like,’ and ‘you know’) and avoid unnecessary jargon.

 

Correct

To improve your chances of being a better writer, your writing must be “correct”. That simply implies that your write-up must be free of grammatical errors. You should ensure that punctuation are used correctly and your ideas are put across in a well-structured manner. Words must be spelled correctly. The use of wrong or ambiguous words might confuse your readers and this must be avoided. Your audience may lose interest in your write-up if words are used improperly. Moreover, many grammatical mistakes and improper use of words make it rather difficult and uncomfortable to read. If you must, use a dictionary to be sure all words are spelled correctly. Do some research on your topic and ensure that all information provided is accurate.

 

Concise

Many people get lost in their own piece of write-up; a common cause here is overwriting. Use concise language when transforming your ideas into words. Replace long phrases with few words if possible. To be a good writer, you must find a way to express yourself concisely, and doing so in an “economical” way is very important. There is the need to keep your writing as brief as possible and straight to the point. There is no need to beat around the bush. Obviously, it is easier to read a 2-page article than a 10-page one, especially when both articles convey the same idea or insight on a particular subject. Many readers skim and scan through pages and you must find a way to keep the write-up simple. To write concisely, do not make use of more words than is needed. In addition, avoid redundant words and desist from the use of same words in different expressions.

 

Complete

“No information is better than half information.”

Have you provided your reader with the necessary information to fully grasp your points? If you are sending a memo, are all the recipients provided with the information they need? Do your reports have all the facts and figures? Is your essay well written (from introduction down to conclusion)? Are the necessary links or evidences attached to your write-up? You do not want your readers struggling to figure out missing content. Providing your readers with half the information they need can be very frustrating and intimidating. To make your writing concise, you might be tempted to limit the amount of information you offer your readers. Your writing can be both concise and complete.

 

Coherence

Are your ideas well-structured and organized in unique paragraphs? Are ideas logically arranged? Can your readers experience the links between the sentences in a paragraph? Your writing can comprise of well-formed sentences and may equally be extremely difficult to understand. Effective writing  is one which has a logical flow of ideas and is cohesive. It holds together well because there are links between sentences in every paragraph. Lack of coherence makes a text difficult to read. The text also becomes incomprehensible and intelligible. Readers would not understand the links between sentences within the paragraphs and there is absolute lack of continuity. Ensuring coherence is critical to effective writing.

“Write Every Day” Good or Bad Advice?

I read a number of writers’ blogs and they usually read…

“One of the most instrumental changes in my life has been writing every single day.

For many years I was a writer who didn’t write that regularly. It was always on the back of my mind to write, but I didn’t find the time.

Then I started this blog in January 2007, and have written pretty much every day since then.

It was life-changing…”

If you’ve ever considered professional writing, you’ve heard this advice. Stephen King recommends it in his instructional memoir, On Writing (he follows a strict diet of 1,000 words a day, six days a week). Others including Anne Lamott propose something similar in her guide, Bird by Bird (she recommends sitting down to write at roughly the same time every day).

Having published a number of books, reports and helping students write for over close to 10 years, I totally agree with Cal that if you’re not a full time writer (like King and Lamott), this is terrible advice. This strategy will, in fact, reduce the probability that you finish your writing project.

In this post from Cal Newport, He explain why this is true — as this explanation provides insight into the psychology of accomplishing big projects in any field.

writing-engraving

The Planning Brain

Here’s what happens when you resolve to write every day: you soon slip up.

If you’re not a full-time writer, this is essentially unavoidable. An early meeting at work, a back-up on the subway, an afternoon meeting that runs long — any number of common events will render writing impractical on some days.

This slip-up, however, has big consequences.

It provides evidence to your brain that your plan to write every day will not succeed. As I’ve argued before, the human brain is driven, in large part, by its need to assess plans: providing motivation to act on good plans, and reducing motivation (which we experience as procrastination) to act on flawed plans.

The problem for the would-be writer is that the brain does not necessarily distinguish between your vague and abstract goal, to write a novel, and the accompanying specific plan, to write every day, which you’re using to accomplish this goal.

When the specific plan fails, the resulting lack of motivation infects the general goal as well, and your writing project flounders.

Freestyle Writing

In my experience as a writer with a day job, I’ve found it’s crucial to avoid rigid writing schedules. I don’t want to provide my brain any examples of a strategy related to my writing that’s failing.

When I’m working on a book, I instead approach each week as its own scheduling challenge. I work with the reality of my life that week to squeeze in as much writing as I can get away with, in the most practical manner. Sometimes, this might lead to stretches where I write every morning. But there are other periods where I might balance a busy start to the work week with half days of writing at the end, and so on.

The point is that I commit to plans that I know can succeed, and by doing so, I keep my brain’s motivation centers on board with the project.

Misunderstanding Motivation: Knowledge Trumps Productivity

This approach, of course, brings up the question of motivation. Most people who embrace the daily writing strategy do so because they worry their will to do the work will diminish without a fixed system to force progress.

This understanding is flawed.

You can’t force your brain to generate motivation. It will do so only when it believes in both your goal and your plan for accomplishing the goal.

If you find that you’re still failing to get work done, even when you’re more flexible with your scheduling, the problem is not your productivity, it’s instead that your mind is not yet sold that you know how to succeed with your general goal of becoming a writer.

In this case, abandon National Novel Writing Month (which I think trivializes the long process of developing writing craft) and go research how people in your desired genreactually develop successful careers. Your mind requires a reality-based understanding of your goal in addition to achievable short-term plans.

Generalizing to Non-Writing Projects

I recalled this lesson recently in an unrelated part of my life. One of my interests over the past few months has been trying to increase the amount of time I spend engaged in deep work related to my academic research.

In December, I tested a rigid strategy that was, in hindsight, just as doomed to failure as attempting to write every day. I had a particular paper that I wanted to complete in time for a winter deadline. I told myself that the key is to start every weekday with deep work. If I commuted on the subway, I would work in a notebook while traveling. If I drove, I would knock off a batch at home while waiting for rush hour to end.

I believed this rigid schedule would help make deep work an ingrained habit, and the paper would get done with time to spare.

It’s reality, I crashed and burned.

The first week, I successfully followed my plan two days out of five — failing the other days for the types of unavoidable scheduling reasons I mentioned above, as well as the fact that writing in my notebook on the subway turns out to make me nauseous!

After that week, my brain revoked any vestige of motivation for this effort and my total amount of deep work plummeted.

My solution to this free-fall was to take a page from my writing life. I went from rigid to flexible planning. I now approach each week with the flexible goal of squeezing in as much deep work toward my goal as is practically possible.

Some weeks I squeeze in more than others. Every week looks different. But what’s consistent is that I’m racking up deep hours and watching my paper starting to come together.

Because I am confident that I know how to accomplish my goal, and my efforts to do so are succeeding each week, my brain remains a supporter.

Summary

Hard scheduling rules — write every day! work on research for one hour each morning! exercise 10 hours a week! — deployed in isolation will lead to procrastination as soon as you start to violate them, which you almost certainly will do. At this point, the bigger goal the rules support will suffer from this same motivation drop.

To leverage the psychology of your brain, you need to instead choose clear goals that you clearly know how to accomplish, and then approach scheduling with flexibility. Be aggressive, but remain grounded in the reality of your schedule. If your mind thinks you have a good goal and sees your short terms plans are working, it will keep you motivated toward completion.

 

On Writing, Rejection, and Persistence

By Ruth Galm

Author Ruth Galm received upwards of 60 rejections from agents for her first novel, Into the Valley. But she kept working, and after years of revising the book, it was plucked from the slush pile at Soho Press. Into the Valley comes out in August 2015, and it’s already received a starred review from PW. Galm discusses the writing process, and persevering through rejection.

When I think of perseverance, how perhaps I persevered in the face of mounting rejection for my novel manuscript forInto the Valley, published by Soho Press this month, I feel no greater claim on this state than any writer I know who carries on doggedly every day. Publishing my debut novel took many years and pushed me from my 30s to my 40s. I can share a few particulars of the journey with the caveat that for some my path might seem like a cakewalk; that I do not presume to know any more how to persevere than the next. But I know stories from the trenches helped me in my most doubtful times, and so I will offer what I can with the disclaimers above, and the hope that it finds you recognizing the quiet, accretive strength of your own resoluteness.

Since I start most of my writing with images I’ll begin there: me hunched over a too-small table on a rickety chair bolstered by a pillow in a strange, sublet room. I was in this sublet having sublet my own apartment (a telling hedge now) after deciding at age 41 to move to a new city, only then to bolt from said new city after a few weeks and crawl back home with no place to live, no job. I was hunched at this too-small table that ruined my back and hips because the only way to block out the searing mortification of what I had just done—I was not eating or sleeping much—was to try and write. I see now that I wanted the move to erase all my perceived adult failures, the not publishing the novel at the apex (nadir?) of them. Please forgive the dramatic overtones, but I had a hard time walking down the street in this period. I felt my failure seeped out of me. A rancid combination of absent social markers—with the added delusion that publishing Into the Valleywould have made up for them—that pulsed out in a stench to people around and announced my lack of worth.

I told someone that I could not possibly write during this time of disorientation and frailty. And that person said it was exactly what I needed to do because that was where my strength lay. So I sat down to the dwarf table and near-backless chair and took one last pass, with comments from a generous former editor, at the structure and pacing of the novel manuscript; I started a short story. This act in its way restored a non-shame to me.

A second image: the large table cluttered with beloved books and my laptop in my own apartment, after the sublets (plural) were finally up. The dozens of agent queries and independent press slush submissions having gone nowhere, which continued to feel like a verdict on my talent, although only one agent actually agreed to read the manuscript and only one independent press read the whole thing, both having mostly good things to say except that they would not take it on. I sat down at the big round table in front of the literature I hoped to be in conversation with and had to ask myself a question: did I want to stop writing? Did I want to stop writing since it was likely I would not get published. The answer was emphatic, kneejerk, maybe masochistic. No. No, I never wanted to stop writing.

And this is when I crossed to the other side. The side where I understood that I would write for myself, without the prospect of publication, and that publishing was a business separate from writing. The delay of not coming to fiction writing until my early 30s made it clear to me that without this vocation my life would lose its center. I could not imagine my days without puzzling out sentences and images, without laboring in the tradition of the great art stacked around me. I could not imagine, after three years of working and revising to get it where I knew it needed to be, changing any element of my unsalable, not-of-the-moment novel manuscript, not the spare style or the focus on landscape or the blankness of the main character “B.” And there I found myself as a writer.

This was a liberation. It opened me up to the absolute truth of writing for me, that craft and art matter above all else. That in their service, I love the actual hair-pulling, nail-biting process of creating prose. This has been the gift over and over. It brings me back from the continuing rejection, makes me want to cry in gratitude for the dark time of the too-small table and feeble chair.

And that is the same space I lived in for eight months until I found out that Soho Press wanted the novel. I had sent the manuscript to their slush pile, with a letter to Senior Editor Mark Doten, a former classmate at Columbia whom I knew in passing from workshop, and I understood finally in our conversation in which he told me the reasons he and Soho loved the novel that it was because I had remained myself, had written for myself, had kept myself as highest critic that they wanted and believed in the book.

And so to be publishing my debut novel at the age of 44 seems only the particular shape of my life, not so remarkable a thing outside our culture’s focus on youth and prodigy, just the timing that is exactly right. Any earlier version would not have been this novel, would have been a lesser craft. I will only write what stirs me, the way it stirs me, and getting that right will be guide and purpose to my days. Nothing else

Death by PowerPoint

all deadThere are 300 million PowerPoint users 
 in the world doing 30 million presentations 
 each day. About a million presentations are 
 going on right now… 50% of them are unbearable! LOTS of people are killing each other
 with bad presentations.

They are all DEAD! Well… almost. Bad presentations… Bad communication… Bad relations… Less sales… Less money… Less training… A vicious circle. Let’s make the world 
 a better place. Bullets don’t kill people “People kill people”.

To be among the cheapest or to be among the best – Is this the question?

The writing services is made up of freelancers and full operational business enterprises. Many prospective clients in the position of students and professionals perform thorough investigation on the best offer on the market before making any decision. Gulf Writers is definitely not the most expensive company in the region, neither are we the cheapest service package in the region. Nonetheless, students and business decision makers who want to undertake any research project are faced with two main elements of quality and price.

Clients also need to assess the reason behind charged prices… whether charged amounts are meant to pay for quality writing services rendered by highly professional writers or whether exorbitant prices are to settle the heavy rent bills in aesthetically appealing offices on the Sheikh Zayed Road. On the other hand even though some freelancers look unprofessional, some fully registered companies offer pretty heartbreaking services.

Gulf Writers is registered under Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone and offer services to clients across all the other Emirates. We provide face-to-face and remote tutorial services to university students in all fields of academia. We manage operational costs in order to direct over 80% of payments to quality writers who are prepared to go the extra mile on your writing project. At Gulf Writers, compromising quality for lower price is not an option and non-negotiable.

Africa Healthcare IT Market Overview

africaMany countries in Africa, with much attention to the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, anticipate significant growth in the next few years. With the expansion in two main areas; accelerating economic development and increasing population, the region’s under-resourced healthcare sector continues to receive significant governmental funding and large amounts of external resource financing. This places the sector above a market value of 35 billion USD by 2016, growing at a cumulative average growth rate of about 9.6% between 2012 and 2016.

This report provides an in-depth knowledge, analysis and projections of the healthcare IT market in Africa from 2012 to 2016, in an exploratory attempt to provide good grounds for businesses to invest in the region. It explores the Healthcare Market, IT market and the Healthcare IT market in Africa. Starting from basic demographic indicators and projections, the report makes it way up by painting a crystal clear picture of the market landscape. Several demographic indicators and other health indicators, as well as major private practices are outlined and analyzed.

Based on highly relevant criteria defined, the report narrows on specific regions or countries for further exploration; it dives deeper to reveal a clearer picture of the ICT Market in Africa as well as the healthcare ICT Market the region. An overview of the healthcare sector and key regulators in various selected countries are also given. Vendors Landscape is analyzed based on their strategic plans to venture the region and also an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats in the market.

A critical look at total allocations to health expenditure and projections to 2016 are made for each of the countries in the Sub-Saharan region; the percentage of public to private health financing; parties financing health and parties buying heath; GDP contribution to health; percentage of government expenditure on health; level of ICT infrastructure; IT accessibility; corruption perception index and implications; state of healthcare ICT and projects ongoing in that respect also elaborated on alongside degree of urbanization and its implications. The combined effect of these alongside governmental policies, vendor strategies, ongoing healthcare projects, conflicts and other challenges, future analysis of the healthcare market and the healthcare ICT market in Africa are made.

OTHER REPORTS IN THIS CATEGORY*

  1.  HEALTHCARE MARKET AND AFRICA: A General Overview by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  2. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN KENYA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  3. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN GHANA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  4. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN SOUTH AFRICA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  5. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN BOTSWANA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  6. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN TANZANIA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  7. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN ZAMBIA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE
  8. HEALTHCARE ICT MARKET IN NIGERIA: An Introduction to Healthcare Project Development by Dreamdrive Digital FZE