I found this through Farnam Street Blog. David Ogilvy’s 10 tips on writing:
Don’t entirely agree
- Sometimes complex ideas require complex language.
- Citations can be a good thing.
- There are people some who use language simply for communication (ie "Can’t. Lunch meeting) and some who use it for expression (ie “Let’s thought-frolic.”) Ideally writing is both clear and expressive–life is not a series of launch codes.
- Writing can lead to action. While the word “manifesto” is played out, writing can be a way to impassion folks and rouse troops.
- Someone’s writing style endears them to me, personally, in a way that lists and bullet points just can’t.
I agree that there are different purposes for writing, some of which may be better served by complex langage. But for most of the writing I come across every day - this list would make my life easier. I also interpret them to leave quite a bit of flexibility. For example, one tip says “write the way you talk” rather than “write the way everyone talks” - that leaves room for different personalities.