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November 09, 2007

The secrets of clear writing - in pictures

I'd been thinking of a way to round up the learning points from last month's focus on writing with clarity.  It didn't really lend itself to an e-book in the way that authentic writing did - and to be honest I didn't have the writing energy for another e-book just now.  Then inspiration struck! 

One of my blogging mentors Rosa Say came up with the idea of a visual celebration of the month gone by at Managing with Aloha Coaching, creating a photo album to highlight key learning points and discoveries.  I loved it - and loved the possibilities it opened up of using visual clues to help people absorb new information and ideas.

So I've been experimenting with my first visual representation of writing tips.  The Writing with Clarity photo-album has 9 pictures, each associated with an element of clear writing style. 

Follow this link to the photo album: it'll open up to a page of thumbnails, like the illustration here:

Once you're in the album you can click on any of the thumbnail images to open up the writing tip alongside the picture and the link to the original post.  (It won't work from these images - you'll need to open the album itself to reveal the tips...)

The sheets within the album look like the one illustrated here, on taking off the mask.  (If you follow this link it'll take you to the 'mask' sheet in the album, with an option at the bottom to scroll to the previous picture, or go back to the main album with the 9 images.)

I have to confess to being more than a little pleased with the results!  But let me know what you think.  Do pictures help you to learn - then remember and apply the learning?

If you had to choose just one of these images to capture the essence of clear writing - which one would it be?

UPDATE: I've updated the explanations regarding (1) accessing the photo-album and (2) opening up the thumbnails to reveal the writing tips.  It was more than a little confusing before.  Apologies to anyone who tried clicking on the thumbnails illustrated in the post.  You have to open up the album in order to access them.  Thanks to Ken Davis for pointing out the difficulty - and being polite enough not to mention that my instructions were not exactly a shining example of clear writing!

Photo credits as appropriate are included in the photo-album.

The photo-album is the round up of last month's focus on writing with clarity.  Thanks again to everyone who contributed.  This month we're focusing on writing to make a powerful connection - subscribe to the feed for regular updates. 

If you're craving the e-book format did you pick up last month's offering?  It's called The Courage To Hear Yourself Sing: 5 Takes on Authentic Writing (just click the link to download the pdf)

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count


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Hi Joanna, since language evolved from picture symbols it makes sense that pictures represent actions. Language became more complex when we moved from the arena of actions to ideas which are not so easily symbolized. It is in the world of ideas that most miscommunication occurs if specific details do not help you see a picture. Perhaps this supports your idea that pictures play a big role in communication. For that reason, I use them on my blog. I take lots of time search for the one that encapsulates the essence of an idea I'm sharing. You have done well to dig deeper into this area!

Thanks for the feedback Robyn

I'm interested in what you say about pictures representing actions - maybe that's why I was attracted to this option for the 'clarity' theme where there are more things we need to do to our writing, compared to the authenticity theme which was more about allowing ourselves to be, to trust, to let go.

The search for the right image for a post is one of the best parts of blogging for me. I often don't know what I'm looking for - but I know it's out there, and I know I'll recognise it when I find it. And it often provides the key to the structure or analogy for the topic - helping me to unlock the words that I was looking for.

I'd love to hear more about how you go through this process too sometimes - always so much to learn from how your brain works!


Well done Joanna! I had a blast putting my album together, and I can tell you did too; isn't it a great way to savor the month gone by?

Robyn, I am intrigued with your comment too; it is true that our language evolved in part from pictures, and that notion that our ideas made language more complex gives us other clues about our intrinsic intentions ... hmmm.

Rosa, I did indeed have fun and thanks for giving me the inspiration.

As you can see I found it a little hard to explain how to navigate the album though - I should have taken more care with my words - got carried away with the excitement at the pictures!


When I start a post I try to find the picture first, so I liked your approach here.

I didn't notice where you credit the pictures. Did I miss something? Did you take them yourself? Since pictures are so important to me, I tend to be scrupulous about giving credit.

Hi Jean, the credits in this case are on the photo album rather than the blog post. Maybe I should have made this clearer though.

I do also try to be scrupulous in giving credit as required. I think I'm mainly there when using a photo first time round but - note to self - maybe not so scrupulous when re 'quoting' a picture I've used once before.

Thanks for the reminder


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