You’re in a bar talking to a stranger. They ask you what you do for a living.
a) Tell them you are a scribe, a scrivener, a master of penmanship who writes beautifully crafted, human-centric prose that tugs effortlessly at the heart strings and produces quantifiable and actionable results?
b) Tell ‘em you’re a writer?
Unless you are an egocentric, self-aggrandising, pretentious wanker with an ego the size of Western Australia, then I would hazard a guess and suggest you would opt for the latter.
Why? Because generally, that’s how people speak to each other. In simple, direct and easy to understand phrases.
So, why is it then, that when you put a pen (or a keyboard) anywhere near these self-same people a bizarre metamorphosis occurs? The writing equivalent of Jekyll and Hyde.
Suddenly they begin writing long, convoluted sentences, riddled with highfalutin words like, autonomous, zeitgeist, and er… highfalutin. Hyphenated phrases such as out-of-the-box thinker and avant-garde approach abound, and the air is thick with cliches and sustained metaphors.
The obvious question is, of course, why does this occur?
THE LONGER THE WORD = THE MORE INTELLIGENT YOU SOUND
Well, there are a number of theories surrounding this, such as a need to sound professional and business-like, a need to sound older (if you are younger) and a need to show off your fluency in marketing lingo.
But the one I subscribe to is an innate need on our part to sound intelligent.
For some reason we seem to find a blank piece of paper or screen confronting. Perhaps this is because we are not there with the reader and so have no opportunity to be smart, funny and attractive in person. All we have at our disposal is our words.
And with the words being, as it were, our representative by proxy, we want to make sure that they give the reader a real flavour of us as a person. A taste of our erudition, towering intellect and incisive powers of reasoning.
And what’s the easiest way of doing this? Yep, you guessed it. Long words and lofty phrases.
Here’s a fun game for you. The next time you go to the pub, try talking like you write and then count how long it takes until someone calls you a pompous ass (or words to that effect) or, worse yet, breaks a bottle over your head.
WRITE LIKE YOU TALK
My point is this. Your writing should be an extension of your talking. If you talk like you swallowed the Oxford English Dictionary, (unabridged version,) then by all means write like that. But if, like the majority of us, you talk in simple, direct human speak, then why not write like that as well?
Imagine how much more enjoyable the life of your reader will be? No incomprehensibly dense phrases, superfluous metaphors and pretentious buzzwords. Just straight to the point prose delivered in no-nonsense language.
Please don’t confuse simplicity with dullness here. I’m certainly not advocating that you be boring and just pump out bullet points. But I am saying, let your writing be an authentic representation of who you are as a person. Not who you think the reader wants you to be.
If you struggle with brevity and feel incapable of being succinct, then why not let the good folks here at Pounce help you out. We’ll strip away the superfluous, and give you a snappy piece of communication that’ll be so uncannily you, the reader will think you’re in the room with them.
So, contact us today and let’s get writing.