Writing As A Form Of Clarity

While writing will always be open to interpretation, it’s far less open to interpretation than body language, reactions, passing comments, whispers on the wind, moral values, historical precedent or anything else equally abstract under the communication umbrella. Laws are not common unspoken understandings between citizens and the courts; laws live on paper in writing. Life at home, operations at your organization or cooperation in your community often improve when words grace the page.

If you hope to bring clarity to a situation, put it on paper. Outline it on paper. Announce it on paper. Rules, feedback, expectations, values and goals all work better when written and preserved. They become real. Sure, words can be misunderstood or interpreted in many ways. The best writers learn to use this to their advantage. When it comes to clarity in writing, less is more – with fewer words (specifically adjectives), there’s less room for wandering interpretations. Memos are good. Assumptions are bad. Dialogue without recording serves no concrete or lasting purpose. It disappears and distorts. The written word by itself does not distort.


Cross a Busy Street

Risk is a lot like crossing a busy street. You can go out of your way to find an intersection OR you can wait patiently for traffic to free up and seize your opportunity. In life, you can accomplish your goal by the book the slow way OR you can study your surroundings before making a direct move. In either case, there is a level of patience involved – leaping into risks unstudied can be suicide. The crosswalk or textbook may be safer, but they add time to your journey and do not force you to genuinely appreciate the physics around you. Crossing the street or accepting a challenge may end in failure, but you could save a lot of time and have much more to learn by doing.

Sometimes, the crosswalk may be the most direct route – embrace it. Other times, you may need to cross a six lane highway while racing the clock or a competitor. Only you can decide whether the time saved and lessons learned are worth it.

I am not advocating for jaywalking or breaking laws. But I do encourage you to seriously consider a more direct path. Put down the book and get dirty.