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[Day 1: Write Well Challenge]: Simplify

[Day 1: Write Well Challenge]: Simplify

This is the first part of the free course, Write Well Challenge. If you’ve not joined, do so here for FREE so you don’t miss any of it.

[Day 1: Write Well Challenge]: Simplify

Simplify | Write Well Challenge

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

Let’s face the reality – we love to be praised and sung. We appreciate and get motivated by a pat on the back. It’s one of our unique weak spots as humans.

And too many times, that desire to be stopped and commended … that cherished dream to be celebrated makes us write for the pleasure of some persons.

Rather than write for the love it … to express our thoughts, we write to impress and please some persons. Maybe our fellow writers and patrons. Or maybe our fans and followers. Or even our critics and haters.

At that time, we start using big-sounding vocabularies, we embrace unnecessary complexities, clumsy compound sentences and avoidable technical words. That’s fakism.

The big problem with fakism

And you know what happens as a result? Our writing loses originality. Our valour to craft beautiful pieces disappears. We lose the purpose of our writing: which is to create, to learn, to grow, to enjoy the process and inspire others.

The more we do that, the lesser attention we get. The more ineffective our message becomes. The more detached our audience stays. And the frustration that comes from that is so horrible it makes you want to bury your head under your pillow and cry out your eyes.

You can be simple … and original

But should fakism haunt you? No!

Do you speak that way when you talk to your mum, or your friend or your spouse? No! You only express your mind as clearly and simply as possible. Do you put up pretentious expressions when you write school exams? No! You only show your understanding as simply and clearly as you can.

So why is your writing outside those situations just to make people feel “wow!”? It’s bad news for your writing life.

But there’s a way out of the conundrum.

What you should do

First, you must fall back in love with writing for its own sake. Write to communicate your mind, not to please anyone.

Second, be as simple as you can, just to pass your message. If you write to impress, your writing will be bad. But if you write to express, your writing will be impressive.

Finally, except you’re pausing to make research or you don’t already know what to say, always write as fast as possible. That way, you’ll care less about using pretentious words to impress. For instance, I’ve written this piece in just 20 minutes.

The good thing about simplicity

And you know the ironies of writing to express and doing it so simply?

  • The lesser you care about what some persons think of your writing, the better you write. [Tweet]
  • The lesser you crave the affection of your readers, the more your writing affect them. [Tweet]

Why is this so? Because simplicity and originality help you produce shining works of art. And people reward great contents.

They’ll come back to you. To become your friends. And fans. And followers. To volunteer as your brand advocates. The more you show your original self and don’t pretend to be superhuman or some writing guru, the better they appreciate you as a real person and value your message.

Your challenges today

Here are some challenges you should take today:

  • Lay your hand on a piece you’ve written before. Identify and re-write long, complicated sentences and clumsy expressions. Also change avoidable technical words. Notice how better the piece gets.
  • Write a short piece (maybe 300 words or less) in 10 minutes on a topic of your choice. Remember to keep it clear, original and simple. Write fast and express yourself with the first and simplest words you find. Observe how nice to read the piece is.
  • Post either or both of the pieces on your blog, on Facebook or elsewhere. Take constructive feedback and see where to improve.

Do you write to impress? Does it help or harm your writing? Consider leaving a comment below.

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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. I wrote to express but am a different person d moment i finished d last sentence for day 1. My thanks to u would definitely fill a bucket nd overflow.

  2. I remember when I was always searching for large vocabularies to make my writing more . I got slightly depressed when I just could not invent those ‘punchlines’. But I have learnt to accept my writing the way it is, simple, and it has since being working for me.
    Great piece coach.

    • Thanks Segun,

      I think that stage of writing for the approval of others is one most writers always have to go through. The quicker one realizes the futility of it and frees oneself from it, the better for one’s writing skills.

      Good to read your feedback.

  3. I find this post very helpful and I look forward to the Day 2. Thank you for doing this Abdullah.

  4. Hmm. . i think this advice is just for me. thanks bro

  5. Writting to express has been doing more good to me. It seems to me to be more natural. Thanks to you. God bless ur good effort

  6. Okay…. I write bassically for the fun of it but a few months ago, a friend talked to me about having a distinctive WRITING VOICE and even though, it seemed important @ the time.
    Am stil doing wat i know best and this is me not trying to please any1.
    One question: should ur having a distinctv writting skil b neglected?

    • If I may attempt an answer to your question before coach comes in I would say no, a big no in fact. I believe the distinctive writing voice or skill you are referring to pertains to writing style, your language usage, genre… it is a good thing if a writer, particular fiction writer, have a distinctive voice or skill. it helps to set you apart, and you would have a very faithful following because they just love the way you paint your pictures.
      But what is most important is to enjoy your own writing, do it for your own enjoyment. people will afterwards fall in love with your works.

    • Hi Marriet,

      Like Segun beautifully said, your unique writing voice is vital. It’s like your identity which builds over time as you write consistently. For instance, you could read a book without a cover page and a title page and tell that the author is Shakespeare or guess that the author is Chinua Achebe. That’s because they each have a unique voice.

      To develop your voice, see which type of writing you enjoy reading most, which style of your writing you find most interesting and passes across your message better. But do not force the voice. It will come naturally over time if you’re consistent.

  7. Yes! For you and the rest of us. 🙂

  8. Ayeyemi Taofeek K. says:

    Sincerely speaking, I writes bcos I love it but love it more when A̶̲̥̅♏ praised for it. I feel av impressed some people. But I try as much as possible to avoid those complex voca. But I learnt more today and A̶̲̥̅♏ going to observe the law of fakism more rather than transgressing it as you’ve tutored us herein. Thanks, ours sincerely.

  9. Busari Abbas says:

    Kudos to you and ALLAH will increase your strenght. I look forward to the day2.

  10. Ayeyemi Taofeek K. says:

    A̶̲̥̅♏ learning…………….

  11. i love this. That challenge to write 300 words in 10 mins was interesting but quite tough. I really want to be a writter like you. Nice job. Keep d ball rolling. Please after this course, will there be overall assesment?

  12. Aminujatto Abdulqahhar says:

    May Allah reward you for your effort of helping people with how to express themselves in the most simplest and impressive way! I look forward to ur next day’s challenge! Thank you

  13. wow!! thanks for highlighting this tonight…
    i have been on this fakism path for sometime and it has made me not like what i write most times… always thought all writers should sound so… however, i admit struggling more for soyinka-ish words has a way of stalling creative energy

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