A Wordsmith's Manifesto
Part 1: Aiming for Claritas
Do your customers appreciate everything you can do for them? Are your employee training costs painfully high? Have you been putting off properly documenting important policies and procedures, knowing that you could be at risk without them? Do you already provide the information that people need, but find few actually absorbing it?
Addressing problems like these effectively can be difficult in these times of heavy agendas and light staff. That’s why more and more successful decision-makers contract professionals who specialize in delivering practical solutions. When you enter the market for professional communications services, however, a new challenge arises: finding the right wordsmith.
the right stuff
How do you know when you’ve found somebody you can trust with the voice of your company, to convey your message clearly? You could look for somebody with a degree in English or in journalism, but is a background in essay writing or spinning angles enough? The bottom line is the quality of the person’s writing. Examine it, and ask yourself one question: Is this writing objectively good?
what it takes
Anybody can produce good writing by chance, but a writer whose work is consistently good possesses a significant body of specialized knowledge and a comprehensive set of professional skills. He or she:
- makes audience-appropriate word choices.
- addresses the reader in a uniform voice.
- always punctuates correctly.
- hedges against false interpretations.
- incorporates many more subtle elements of good writing as well.
the mark of a master
Mastery of the elements of good writing produces consistently good writing. Yet, mastery comes in degrees. The mark of a true wordsmith, then, is claritas. Romans used this Latin word for the ideas of clarity and of transparency.
Writing that has claritas has transparency as a medium, allowing you to receive its message undistracted by patterns of ink and space on paper. When you receive a message like a direct transmission, then the writer has attained claritas.
Writing that has claritas also has clarity of message, allowing you to understand it easily, undistracted by interpretive processes. When you understand a message so easily that accepting it is intuitive, then the writer has attained claritas.
Claritas is not just an abstract mark of excellence, but a harbinger of effective communication. Claritas makes text easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to remember. It persuades gracefully. It instructs precisely. It can raise your image and lower your costs, too.
find your diamond in the rough
Anybody literate can write. Only a professional wordsmith consistently produces objectively good writing. Look for claritas, and you will find a writer who can be a valuable ally when quality and efficiency rule.
- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.
Click for A Wordsmith's Manifesto part II
Click for A Wordsmith's Manifesto part III
Click on the pilot
for the site map + links to more articles.