This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

To find out more about Write, go to or join us on Facebook at

28 August 2014

Write. Read.

Writing well can give you a remarkable insight into reading.

I go to a writing group once a month. The interest and feedback from its members is encouraging. We give each other support, criticism, and deadlines for submitting work. Without these things, my project may have fallen by the wayside.

But the skill I'm finding the most interesting and challenging is how to read how to critique other people's writing. Once a month, a member's story hits my inbox. These days my approach is to put my news sub-editor's hat on and wrangle sentences, the order of ideas in a paragraph, the punctuation. But my colleagues are bolder. They take a wider view. They dive in and comment on structure, relationships, tones, and voices. Last week Cathy completely rewrote the first page of the submitted piece.

I've learned two things from their critiquing comments:   
  • how to begin applying their remarks to my own work that's challenging
  • how to read fiction with a little of their insight stepping beyond enjoyment into a greater understanding.
I do a lot of reading at Write, and I well understand what to look for how to read, write, and edit. I put myself in the same reader's shoes, reading with a different purpose. Do clear headings headings tell the story? Does the structure deliver the information in a useful order for the reader? Does the piece answer all the reader's question? Is the language precise and familiar, so the message is completely clear?

Learn to write, and you learn what to look for. And that makes reading easier. I'm learning a different kind of writing. And I'm enjoying learning more about a different kind of reading.

Read a book by one of the 20th century's greatest editors Stein on Writing
Consider our workshop on Advanced Accelerated Reading

No comments:

Post a Comment