Writing for Clarity

I’ve spent much of my career teaching writing, whether it was in a formal classroom setting or working with clients on their writing. And, I write everyday, between journaling, blogs, podcast episodes, emails, novels, and a non-fiction project.

Communicating with others (and myself) through the written word is what I do, who I am, and what I teach.

One of my former students just finished student teaching and is applying for a teaching job. She listed me as a reference on one of her applications, and the school district sent me the WEIRDEST “Reference Check” form ever.

It started off fine as it asked me to rank her as outstanding, above average, average etc. in categories you would expect, like “knowledge of the subject” and “understanding of children.”

And then came the weirdness.

One category was “Acceptability.” 

Huh? What does that mean?!?

Does this mean that she accepts all of her students? Or that other people accept her? How on earth do you rank someone on acceptability?

The other weird category was “Voice.” 


Is this school district running auditions for American Idol? I have NO idea what that means in relation to a public high school classroom teacher.

Whoever chose these categories probably had a super clear idea of what each meant, but they totally failed to communicate it on this form. 

Lack of clarity and confusion on the page absolutely has its place in the world, but that place is NOT on a form you send out, in a book you write, in a proposal you submit, or even on your website where you share your creative work.

Nope, the “let me figure out what I’m feeling and thinking confused” kind of writing is best kept in the private, nobody-but-me-will-ever-read-this, space of your journal.

In there, when you write a list with “acceptability” and “voice,” you will give that a glance and know exactly what you meant. 

And that’s perfect. 

Because you’re the only one who needs to know what it means.

That’s the beauty of writing down your soul in the pages of your journal. 

You can explore, ask questions, figure out what you think and get the insights that you’ve been searching for. And nobody but you will ever read it.

Whether you are:

  • writing (or dreaming of writing) a book
  • wanting clarity on your ideas
  • wanting to reconnect with a creative practice you love whether it’s photography, painting, music, or writing
  • playing with an idea to sell your creations or teach your art

The daily practice of sitting down and connecting with your soul will help you get started and help keep you walking your creative path. 

This is a foundational practice to help you connect with your inner wisdom and your intuition which guides you through any creative project or endeavor you choose.

It’s kind of magical. It’s a sacred kind of magic where you get to ask questions, and even better…receive answers.

Then, you can take those ideas and shape them, form them into a structure that can communicate your idea or message to others.

And that’s where book coaching comes in – if you’ve got the ideas but aren’t sure how to put them together in a clear way, let’s talk.

to connecting and creating,


P.P.S. In case you were wondering, I rated my student as outstanding in both acceptability and voice.

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