5 ways to become a better writer (according to George Orwell)
Pick the Brain has abridged George Orwell’s 5 rules for effective writing. All together now:
- Don’t use cliches. We’re all guilty of this, but avoid them at all costs. Writing should evoke emotion. Cliches are cozy expressions that humans don’t internalize, thereby no emotion is felt.
- Be concise. Wordy thoughts don’t sound intelligent, well-structured sentences do. (If I hadn’t written #1 above, I’d say “Less is more,” here.)
- Strip out filler words. Trim the fat from your sentences. Never use two adjectives when one will do.
- Use active voice over passive. The man wasn’t bitten by the dog (passive), the dog bit the man (active). It’s shorter and more forceful that way (Latin-based languages do this very well).
- Avoid trade jargon. If you want your ideas to spread, avoid technical jargon in favor of an everyday word.