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H.L. Mencken, the author, journalist and social critic, observed that most people “write badly because they cannot think clearly.” And the reason they cannot think clearly, he went on, is that “they lack the brains.”

Putting aside H.L.’s criticism for the moment, let’s assume that all copywriters have the “brains” and, more often than not, we are capable of clear thinking. It follows then, that we stand a very good chance of being able to write well. But clarity of thought is only step one. The following principles will help you move on from there, so that you can put down in writing exactly what you have in mind.

1. Don’t mumble

2. Get to the point

3. Don’t write like a nerd, a lawyer or a bureaucrat

4. Use short paragraphs, short sentences and simple words

5. Write simply and naturally

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on March 16, 2003 in Ideas.

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