In the previous post I started with some essential pre-amble, namely what drives me to read about writing. In this post I want to talk about some important takeaways I have from Helen Sword's excellent book Air & Light & Time & Space.
It seems to be a basic law of human nature that we have difficulty seeing the flaws in our own writing. We put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) and we think that what comes out is perfectly coherent and anyone with half a brain should be able to understand it. Then someone else reads it. All of a sudden, we recognize that we aren't as brilliant, insightful, and clear as we thought we were. In this post, I want to offer some tips on how to be more clear when we are writing, as well as how to be better editors of our own writing. While I am for the most talking about academic writing, I think many of the principles apply to more casual writing as well.