Bad writing has many symptoms, but only one primary cause, according to John R. Trimble, University Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at UT-Austin. The problem comes from the writer’s failure to be guided by the needs of the reader. Many novice writers, he notes, don’t understand the difference between writing for themselves and writing for an audience. They don’t realize that “the success of the communication depends solely on how the reader receives it,” (15) I read this book when I started teaching college-level writing courses, and its premise seems as true today as it did thirty years ago.
John R. Trimble, Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: 1975), p. 13.