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For Pinker, the root cause of so much bad writing is what he calls “the Curse of Knowledge,” which he defines as, “a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose.” …

“A considerate writer will… cultivate the habit of adding a few words of explanation to common technical terms…”

“Readers will also thank a writer for the copious use of ‘for example,’ ‘as in,’ and ‘such as,’ because an explanation without an example is little better than no explanation at all.” …

Before you commit your writing to print — or to the internet —  take a few moments to make sure that what you write is clear and understandable by as many of your intended readers as possible.

Quoting Stephen Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century in Glenn Leibowitz, “The Single Reason Why People Can’t Write, According to a Harvard Psychologist,” Inc. (Oct 14, 2017)

There are other causes of bad writing, surely, besides “the curse of knowledge.” The author also puts a nice spin on jargon, which doesn’t always aid communication. It’s still good advice. —C.M.H.

Jeff Goins, “The System I Used to Write 5 Books and Over 1,000 Blog Posts”

“Setting Up Jeff Goins’ Writing System in Ulysses,” The Sweet Setup (Jul 27, 2017)

Paul Graham, “Writing and Speaking” (Mar 2012)

Hannah Bloch, “How to write short,” NPR Training (Jul 29, 2016)

Andrew Peterson, “To a Schoolgirl in America: Writing Advice from C. S. Lewis,” The Rabbit Room (Jun 20, 2017)

Michael Hyatt, “How to Become More Consistent in Your Daily Journaling”

Sarah Clarkson, “A Difficult Generosity,” The Rabbit Room (Jun 16, 2014)

Check out Twine, an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.

“Start with the word”: Content-First Design /

An interdisciplinary convergence… what advice is both good for web/game design and missionary strategy? There needs to be a shift “of working content first (conversation design) instead of structure first (system design).”

So I started practicing what the video game industry preached (and what the advertising industry leaders like George Lois preached before them): start with the word.

Steph Hay, “Content-First Design”

Start with the word. Preach it.