One idea for better writing

Light bulbIt sounds a bit simplistic to say to that one idea will improve your writing, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Just one idea can make a big difference.

Literally, one idea.

It’s not uncommon to see too many ideas presented together. When this happens, the narrative can ramble on, go off on a tangent, or explore multiple layers of ideas (which then need to be unpacked like Russian matryoshka dolls).

To understand the effect this has, think of the universal symbol for an idea – the light bulb – and imagine it in its original packaging. The globe is made of glass and the packaging is often a cardboard box.

If you try to force more than one light bulb into the box, one of two things will happen:

  • you will break the globe, or
  • you will deform the box.

Either way, the integrity of one of the elements is compromised and the product is damaged.

In the same way, trying to pack more than one idea into your writing can cause:

  • the original point or ‘takeaway message’ for the reader to be lost
  • the structure and flow of information to be contorted.

This can damage your writing as a product because it compromises the impact of your message. It can prevent effective communication of your idea and potentially be a lost opportunity to inspire someone else’s lightbulb moment.

The principle of ‘one idea per paragraph’ is commonly accepted and taught. However, the same approach can be applied to writing at all levels, from the humble sentence to papers, articles, blog posts and more.

It can be tempting to present ALL of the information on a topic at once because the opportunity is there. But additional information and perspectives actually create new opportunities. Whether you are planning out an article, chapters of a book, a content marketing strategy or an academic publication plan, consider how your writing can make the most of every single idea.

Image: via Pixabay

See also: