5 Reasons Your Writing Is Misunderstood


Miscommunication–It’s the bane of every good writer, yet all too often it happens. What would you say if I told you that many communication problems that writers face could be traced to five common causes?

You’d want to know those causes, wouldn’t you? Well, so did I–so I developed this list of problems that cause miscommunication. If you’ve ever had someone misunderstand your writing, you’ll want to see if one of these culprits is the cause.

Here are five problems that can cause your readers to misunderstand what you write:

  1. You forgot who you’re writing to. It’s very important to keep your audience in mind. You need to write in a way that your audience relates to. That means you’ll have to learn a little about what your readers already know and understand about your topic.
  2. Your information is incomplete. All too often writers stop just short of being really informative. They may share some details that are very valid, but don’t quite cover everything the reader needs to know. Remember, incomplete communication is miscommunication.
  3. Your material is poorly organized. Yes Virginia, how you organize your writing is important. :) Your writing needs to take the reader through a logical sequence of thoughts. You can’t just throw everything you know about a subject out there and expect it to be understood.
  4. Your presentation competes with your content. I see this a lot on the Internet. Pay close attention to what the page looks like where your writing will be published. Does it have a professional appearance, or is it cluttered with ads and popups?
  5. Nobody can find your information. Writing great material benefits no one if no one ever sees what you write. In this age of social media, it is often up to the writer to promote his or her own material.

What miscommunication problems have you had? Share your answer in the comments.


  1. says

    Hi Leslie!

    Thanks for your encouragement. I wouldn’t say I use “Yes, Virginia,” all the time, but in this case it seemed to express just the right level of cynicism.

  2. says

    While all of these in the list certainly contribute to a misunderstanding of a writer’s intent, I think that experienced writers probably don’t fall prey to these too often…perhaps the first one can cause veteran writers some grief. I think ‘forgetting who you’re writing to’ is primarily caused by distractions (either internal or external). Another thing that may cause a writer to fail in conveying his or her message as intended is Impostor Syndrome. I’ve recently written a slew of articles about this topic for a client. I know I have experienced the phenomenon of Impostor Syndrome at times (it comes and goes), but never knew what to call it. Does anyone else in the pro writing world ever struggle with this?

  3. says

    Hi Samantha!

    That’s an interesting point.

    I guess didn’t think about Imposter Syndrome because it’s been many years since I’ve worried about being good enough to be a writer.

    However, I can see that this might be a real problem for new writers. :)

    Maybe it will help if I share what a more seasoned (at the time) writer told me when I started out as a technical writer: “Don’t worry that you’re not a professional writer. If you’re earning a living as a writer, then by definition you’re a professional.”

    I hope that helps.

    Thanks for chipping in with your two cents.

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