Don’t write to me, talk to me
A funny thing happens when we write. We get hung up on saying things in a certain formal way and using words that we wouldn’t normally use in convoluted sentence structures that wind around the point rather than getting straight to it.
Perhaps it’s an attempt to display our undeniable intelligence. Perhaps it’s left over determination to adhere to the complex rules of English we learned in middle school. Regardless, the result is fat, boring sentences that fail to bring joy to the reader.
To avoid this: read what you’ve written out loud. Even better, find an 11 year old and have her read it to you. Does she stumble over the words? Are the sentences cumbersome?
Before you write, trying talking through your story or memo or report as if you were explaining it to a friend. This helps you organize your thoughts and get to the most important information. After all, you wouldn’t want to bore your friends.
Then sit down and write it like you said it. Yes, there is a difference between how we talking and writing. The goal is not to write exactly as you talk, which is generally more informal and often with lots of repetition, but you will likely find that your writing is more engaging and easier to read if it is closer to regular conversation.
And, if you find it to be too informal, you can always change it.