Hi Sean, thanks for starting this great conversation!
The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides a great list of tips:
Follow the principles below to write sentences that are clear, to the point, and easier to read.
- Use the active voice
- Put the action in the verb
- Put wordy phrases on a diet
- Reduce wordy verbs
- Reduce prepositional phrases
- Reduce expletive constructions
- Avoid using vague nouns
- Avoid unneccessarily inflated words
- Avoid noun strings
There are many excellent resources online for learning how to think and write well. Given the importance of this skill, I encourage us to intentionally develop our ability to do so.
Let me invite us to think about why we want to write clearly in RZIM Connect.
There are the obvious practical benefits for ourselves.
Each conversation in RZIM Connect is an opportunity for our own growth and development. Do I want to strengthen habits of lazy thinking and communication? Or do I yearn to become a better thinker and communicator of the gospel? What kind of person am I becoming?
There are also the obvious benefits for other members of Connect.
We are all busy people. If I write a jumbled post in haste, I am asking ten, twenty, or a hundred other people to take additional time to decipher what I have written in a rush. But if I take a few extra minutes to communicate clearly, then I am giving my neighbor the benefit of an easy to understand post that is much more helpful to them.
Furthermore, are you likely to recommend RZIM Connect to your church, your family, and your best friend if you regularly see rambling, disorganized, poorly researched posts? The reputation of this community depends upon each member contributing their very best - not what they can make time for in a rush. To paraphrase and adapt a saying I’ve heard many times, “If you can’t something helpful, don’t say anything at all.”
But perhaps most fundamentally, as Christians, we are responsible before God for every word we speak - or type.
A few verses come to mind:
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
May God find all the words in RZIM Connect acceptable in his sight!
I look forward to learning from your best contribution to this discussion!