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Maintaining the flow of ideas

Writing with disjointed ideas that don’t flow from one to another is not easy to read and not a good advertisement for you. So how can you make your writing flow?

  1. My first tip is to proof read everything you write – preferably after a decent break from it and by someone else for anything important. It is easy to write down things as they occur to you but reading it later will show the lack of flow
  2. Qualify any alternative perceptions, usually words such as although, however, despite and but will help things flow better. For example “I think chocolate is best. Caramel has more flavour” doesn’t flow as well as “I think chocolate is best although caramel has more flavour.”
  3. plan your messgae before you write it – if you know what each paragraph is about before you start,  you are less likely to include irrelevant material
  4. Remember that you don’t have to include everything you know about a topic in one piece of writing (even a thesis will have appendices and refer to external material!) Trying to include every fact and all points of view often leads to disjointed results so just include the details relevant to your purpose
  5. Check each paragraph covers only one idea and then review the order of the paragraphs so that information builds on itself and related ideas are in subsequent paragraphs. The beauty of word processing software is that you can move paragraphs and sentences around easily until they are in the right order for ideas to flow – not as easy to manage with pen and paper or a typewriter!

Is maintaining the flow of ideas in your writing something you consciously work on?

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