What is your point?
Rude as it sounds, the question “What’s your point?” reminds writers that communication always has a purpose. We don’t write merely to put words on paper. We want to express a thought, an idea, an opinion, a feeling, even an irony, and we want someone else to understand what we’re saying. For example, the point that an image makes (whether visual or textual) must be clearly constructed. The potential irony of the two signs to the left is clear from their juxtaposition. Most handicapped persons are not going to be riding skateboards.
Even reflective writing, which is more internal or inner-directed and often wandering, comes down to a point or maybe even several points. The mind prefers order, so even in free-write mode, a writer is brought around to the point that is driving the reflection.
When we bring the reader into the picture (and the reader is always hovering over our shoulder), then we must hone our point to be sure that our readers gets it and does not mistake it for some other. Ultimately, interpretation always belongs to the reader, so the writer’s job is to shape the interpretation of the text in the direction that he or she wants it to go.
Clarity here is the key. Churchill’s message is hard to mistake. We can offer varying interpretations. We can talk about whether we agree with his statement or not, but ultimately, the point that he is making is clear: Stand up for what you believe.
Get to the Point:
So, use your free-writing to get the ideas flowing and then analyze what you have written to be certain your main idea or point is clear. Move the clutter from around it. Make the point early on. Don’t confuse your reader about what you’re trying to say. Get to the point.
Image courtesy of Bill Graeser at https://plus.google.com/photos/107550539024161977376/albums?banner=pwa