Writing clearly is very important. How important? Not doing so can crash expensive space crafts, like the crash of Mars Climate Orbiter in September 1999. That just cost NASA US$ 125 million.
I got this example from Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making. It's a wonderful book, full of inspiring examples for young scientists, students and entrepreneurs.
What the Crash Had to do with Clear Writing?
Mars Climate Orbiter's software mixed up between English units and metric units, between feet and meters.
Not so fast.
The authors of that software borrowed some pieces from the software of a previous mission called Mars Global Surveyor. The part that caused the problem is called "the thruster equation", which does conversion between feet and meters. That must be a very simple, clear, short piece. What so special about conversion between feet and meters after all?
Pieces of software are just like paragraphs in a long story.
If you write clearly, they read like paragraphs in a good story. You know what each means, which parts of the story are where and so on.
If you are careless, undisciplined or irresponsible, any reader will trip, slip and fall among your lines and paragraphs.
And your software may down a plane, shut down a bank and a hospital, or even crash some space missions.
So, why not start a good habit now. Let's write a bit more clearly starting from today!
Mars Climate Orbiter that crashed into mars.