You have all been there before reading a book, a report, a peer’s term paper, where it seems as if the writing never ends or those long paragraphs that contain 4 different concepts. Then at some point at line 24 of paragraph three you lose it and have no idea what you just read, then it requires some re-reading.
What am I getting at?
You can’t put ten pounds of shh-stuff in a five pound bag, or at least you really wouldn’t want to.
What is white space?
One of the first things we did as kids was try to find the book that had the least amount of text and most pictures because you could mow through it quickly and understand what is going on. Even as adults we still prefer breaks in text, if it’s a 20 page report of a half page email, no one likes a cluster of text. It may not seem like much but the white space used in your text is almost as important as spelling, and grammar.
In all professional writing, whether it’s technical, informative, or persuasive you must break the text up to convey your message effectively. White space will provide for your writing contrast, balance, even patterns. Creating whitespace is easy! You’ve done it before, it’s not only blank lines between paragraphs it can be first line indents, margins, space between vertical columns, It will allow your audience to quickly read through your work and more importantly create a resting place for readers.
We all work in a busy world where we get interrupted by phone calls, co-workers, managers and breaking your writing will enable readers to find where they left off easily without getting frustrated with your document. White space is your buddy.
Use it with care, too much white space will cause documents to look unprofessional, not enough will make it sort of exhausting to read. There is a time and place for every type of writing lengthy paragraphs are fine as long as they contain valuable information, good variety of sentence structure and no repetition.
Comparison Good Example letter writing:
Comparison Bad Example letter writing:
White space in a resume – Good and Bad comparison:
Don’t just take it from me…
Kathleen Katzanne a fellow blogger, freelance writer and graphic designer has a great post on the use of white space.
She explains the importance of formatting your work to have enough white space, as well as showing a great comparison towards the bottom of the blog post between a bad use of white space, and a good use of white space. The difference between the two images is dramatic, and illustrates how you can make your writing much more attractive to your fellow professionals in the workplace.
With the proper use of white space, it will create an “easy read” for your audience to follow from the beginning to end. No crammed documents, no frustrated readers thinking “When is thing going to end?” I even tried my best to use it for you all in this blog post. Can you believe you just read 500 words?
Daniel Sanchez is a student at the University of South Florida majoring in Management of Information Systems with the intent of becoming a Data Base Administrator.