My mother died a number of years ago, but she still helps to edit my writing.
When I write, my goal is to be clear. I want to make life as easy as possible for my reader.
There are times when my writing becomes a bit dense and overblown, particularly when the subject matter is technical. When that happens, I sometimes ask myself a simple question: “How would I say this to my mother?”
This was no insult to my mother. She was always sharp as a tack. She believed in plain language, hated jargon, and had no use for muddled thinking. I can easily imagine her reading my piece with a frown, then looking at me quizzically and saying, “What exactly are you trying to say here?”
I then think about how to answer her. In doing so, I often find ways to simplify my writing, avoid technical language, and follow a more logical flow.
When something is complex, there’s a temptation to write about it so that it sounds even more complex. After all, that shows how smart you are. But your goal as a writer should be to make complex ideas sound simple. It’s not easy, but there are little ploys you can use to help. When you feel that your writing is getting a little foggy, simply ask yourself how you would explain it to your mother.