Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Fundamental Insecurity of All New Writers

You talk constantly at Quick Writing Tips about how we should strip down and simplify our writing. But won't I lose style points if my writing is too stripped down? Won't I sound--I don't know--too simple?

This, in a nutshell, is the fundamental insecurity of most new writers. New writers are afraid to say what they really want to say, so they cloak it in complex prose. It seems more impressive, more intelligent--and there's comfort and safety in that.

Except that your "comfort" comes at the expense of your readers. After all, they're the ones forced to decipher what you should have said more simply.

Rather comforting your ego and worrying about whether you sound too simple, worry about this instead: if you strip down your language and discover your ideas aren't all that insightful after all, wouldn't you rather know that before you click publish?

Now, at least, you can work on the right thing: improving your ideas until they're ready for public consumption.