Recently, some classmates and I were lamenting the fact that our classmates in other disciplines had almost no conception of what we did, despite the large mathematics population at Waterloo. Instead of giving up in the face of a Very Hard Problem, one of us brought up a column popularizing physics that had a brief run in the school paper, and suggested that we author something similar for mathematics. The column will have some particular constraints that seem challenging to satisfy (self-contained week to week, 500-700 words, try to cover at least some of the current research at UW) but this question is a more general one.

In looking for resources and guidance to help with the writing we have come across several good discussions of topic. We have also found examples of good popular writing and a general discussion of presenting mathematics to a non-mathematical audience.

What we have not found, on MathOverflow or elsewhere, is a popular analogue of the well-answered question "How to write mathematics well?". A lot of the tactical advice of Knuth, Halmos, and others goes out the window when you answer their first question, "Who is your audience?" with "a general university educated public".

What is your advice for writing good mathematics for a popular audience? What holds for all styles of writing and what is article or book specific?