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By Johannes Helmold

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Chicken or egg, creation or evolution, the Big Bang or the eternal Universe, and eloquence or simplicity in writing—these are, perhaps, some of the most complicated dualities in terms of logic. Besides, the first three of them can be solved easily—by simple deduction. The fourth one, however—I am talking about eloquence and simplicity—is, unfortunately, a hard nut to crack.

When you have a lot of interesting material you would like to share with other people through writing, you might experience a temptation to express it in an as detail as you can. Moreover, using many kinds of sophisticated constructions and logical concepts can be extremely pleasant.

I remember when I was a student, one of my teachers gave me an assignment to write a short story on philosophy; I was to choose a philosophical theory and write a story that would completely express its idea. Of course, I did not hold my horses, so to say, and wrote a composition overloaded with paraphrases on Sartre and Camus, speculations, and absurdity. And I was surprised to get a D for all my effort.

The only comment my teacher left me at the end of the composition was, “This could have been expressed in two paragraphs.”

I guess I could finish this blog post with this phrase, but I want to expand on this point a bit more. Indeed, we’ve gotten used to talking so much that we hardly notice what we say. If there existed a filter that could extract pure meaning from all the words we say, I guess the meaning would make about 25% of what we speak daily. When you write, simplicity must be your priority. It does not mean you must write in super-short sentences. It means you should write only what is worth writing. When you edit and proofread your writing, make sure you cannot rewrite every sentence (or even paragraphs) so that they become shorter; however, do not lose the core point under all the words and logical constructions.

Simplicity is the key to having your readers enjoy your writing. But to achieve it, you must write a lot. Quantity results into quality.

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