Writing documents like designing logos
I write my documents the same way I design logos. The only difference is I keep editing the same document from the beginning until the end, whereas I create multiple sketches and designs to reach to a final logo.
At first, I create a quick draft with the issues I need to mention. Any document is aimed at some info exchange, be it a project proposal, a contract or a report. Therefore, by building a basic structure I can make sure I don’t forget to include anything important. (Stage 1)
Then, I try to elaborate on the different issues by creating small explanatory paragraphs on each one, using simple words as if simply explaining my thought to someone else. This helps me spot any blurry points that need further research and analysis. (Stage 2)
By doing some research, I clarify whatever needs clarification and I also come across different approaches or additional issues that might be of use to include into my document. (Stage 3)
Stages 2 and 3 need to be applied iteratively most of the times, as new pieces of information arrive and need to find their place in the document.
After a few iterations, I usually end up with a long, rich, super-charged document, that includes all necessary information in full extend, ready to be sent. But to whom? And for what purpose? (Stage 4)
These questions guide me to start removing. It is good to have done my homework and to have everything clear in my head, but not every detail is useful to the target-reader. Neither is a complex and long document proactive for many types of communication these days. Getting rid of the text clatter, I end up with with a document that includes all necessary points, yet is minimal enough to convey a clear message and claim a fast and clear reply. (Stage 5)
There! Here’s my document writing technique, borrowed from logo designing and inspired by Contract Killer.
Find the original Contract Killer on github.