Writing is valuable. It doesn’t just transfer insights, it creates them. And since “good words are worth much and cost little,” choosing the right words is worth the price you pay in time (and sanity).
At Help Scout we look at the quality of writing through the same demanding lens we use to evaluate the quality of code.
I certainly don’t have this writing thing figured out—not even close—but thanks to the gracious feedback from readers, here are a few common signs that your writing is heading in the right direction:
1. Brevity. Soul. Wit.
Few things drag down writing more than spreading good ideas over too many words.
2. Writing is not flaunting your vocabulary.
“When you write you should pretend that you, the writer, see something in the world that’s interesting, that you are directing the attention of your reader to that thing in the world, and that you are doing so by means of conversation,” says Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. Writing is not meant to prove ownership of a thesaurus—it is the selective transcribing of thoughts.