How do I keep my writing simple and concise?

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Just as Michelangelo said, “I created a vision of David in my mind and simply carved away everything that was not David.”, in order to create maximum success, instead of talking about what can be done; let’s discuss ; what is keeping people from writing well ?

First of all, coherence.

What makes a piece of writing easy to read, easy to explain, easy to enjoy ? Coherence, the quality of forming a unified whole.

On a spectrum, the people who struggle the most with this are typically the people that talk with a very implied context ; Example ; - Where is Anand ? - Doe’s.

On the opposite side of things, someone who gives very explicit instruction typically excel at this ; Example ; -Where is Anand ? -He is at the Doe’s restaurant, on 23th street.

But what is a good rule of thumb to have a good level of coherence ?

“Make your writing universally understood. Not only by simplifying it but also by using short enough sentences with clear links to their previous sentences at their start. “

Bad example ; 1929, known as one of the first krach of wall street had an absolutely terrible effect on the populations of the entire world, and that history remains one of trauma, today many people compare this historical fact to another crisis, the 2008 subprime crisis.

Better example ; The crisis of 1929, is known as one of the most impactful economical crisis of the twentieth century. And that, not without reasons, it had a global impact with banks all over the world going bankrupt. This global effect made this historical fact a traumatic event. Nowadays, many people compared the similarly damaging 2008 crisis to that one.

I also suffer from coherence issues, but, you can notice that in the second example, most of the messages are clearly explained. There shouldn’t be any ideas that you don’t explicit all the way to the end.

Also, you should use proper connection from one sentence to another and don’t make them too long. Those connections should also explicit the meaning of your sentence by linking it with your goal.

Bad example ; Dabby’s is great. Soccer player don’t like resting with noise. Free drinks are always there.

Better example ; Dabby’s is great. That soccer club is always silent, which helps the players rest and focus. It is also always equipped with the best free drinks in town.

Most of the time, if you make of this rule a habit ;

“ Make your writing universally understood. Not only by simplifying it but also by using short enough sentences with clear links to their previous sentences at their start. “

You will probably have easy to understand, easy to explain, easy to enjoy, writing.

And that is maybe the one rule you should be the most mindful of.

Second of all, style.

Let’s say you mastered first rule. In fact, you thought it was the only rule worth any attention ( it’s not false up to a point.). So, you give your essay to your teacher, expect a great grade. The next week, you have the worst grade in your class! “Why?” You ask yourself, but then, when you read your work, the only thing it remind you of is a Ikea manual to build the eskgiehtoski chair.

YOU FORGOT ABOUT STYLE YOU DONUT ! Your teacher actually wrote, “Good essay but it sounds like Chat GPT.”

In fact, style is actually essential, that is because when you read something, even if it’s crystal clear, if it isn’t interesting at all, you are probably gonna let it down don’t you ?

This idea could be expressed in the book “The language Instinct” by Steven Pinker. In that book, Steven Pinker defends the idea that language is the traduction of an innate creation of meaning inside every person. That way, language is not only a media for the communication of information, but also, a clear expression of the intrapersonal dynamic of an individual.

Let’s put it that way, your reader isn’t a robot. He doesn’t only want a clear explanation of facts, he also wants a palette of colors, images, music, movement, action, expression, passing through your writing.

Not everyone develops a style, but without a style, the one you unconsciously develop often sounds like a baby trying to wear a suit.

“So”, you might say, “what do I do with all of that ?” Excellent question.

In order to understand how to have a great writing style, let me build an image inside your head.

Let’s say your job is to cook for a 5 stars restaurant. How can you maximise the expression of the taste your food can have ?

Do you follow the tutorial of as if you discovered cooking for the first time ? Yes of course (the first time), but that couldn’t be 5 stars level food, could it ? Don’t do that unless you want people to flee from your highly expensive restaurant thinking “This cook just discovered how to cook.”

What do you do then ?

Well I hate to break it to you but good food making is acquired only through one thing, deliberate practice and observation of master at their best.

Now, you know by heart every videos made by Gordon Ramsay ever and you went to every cooking school in Paris. What’s the result ? You can finally make tomato pasta without having it look like store-bought tomato pasta. Everyone knows it’s tomato pasta, but now, people actually want to taste it. Still the same thing, but a different style.

Just as in cooking, the way you can develop great writing style is through the study of great pieces of writing. Read the very best pieces you can read, but read them with the kind of fascination a new cook as for a world class cook.

Try to emulate their style by rewriting a sentence of which you remember the meaning.

Then, compare that sentence to the originally greatly written sentence in every detail, change your’s to become more like the original. This method was created by Benjamin Franklin concerning the piece of writing “The spectator” which he thoroughly studied for a long time. Do like Franklin and master the style of the books you find to be the most elegantly pronounced.

That would be my take on how to write.



“ Make your writing universally understood. Not only by simplifying it but also by using short enough sentences with clear links to their previous sentences at their start. “

“Emulate the greatest by miming every detail of their writing until you can write literally like them just by thinking of the same ideas as them. “

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