A writer's intervention
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
-- Ernest Hemingway
Always amazed but never astonished at how tech companies tell stories, I sometimes experience pangs of sadness when I read butchered sentences riddled with off-putting words. Bouncy, unbalanced constructions and aimless meanderings make me woozy, like a purposeless voyage on rough seas. It’s as if they – these nameless companies that subject us to their narcissistic verbosity – seek to punish those who dare to read their hubris-laden dribble. “Aha! You’re mine now. Feast your eyes on this rubbish-inflicted notion and twist slowly in the wind of ambiguity and excess!”
Yes, writing can be beautiful, and it can be dreadful. The great writer Mark Twain explained, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” For those struggling to see the difference, I think it’s time for a writer’s intervention.
Come all ye who agree and join me. Leave your best-in-class, revolutionary, and adjective-infused blow torches at home. You won’t need them any more. From the depths of disingenuous communications, we will detox your lexicon and bring you back to an even state of being, one more suited to Dr. Seuss – he of Green Eggs and Ham. Yes, we will strip you bare of your proclivities to over-emphasize, to overstate and to over-do. We will turn your Breaking Bad around into something profoundly more valuable and measurably more pleasant. In short, we will turn you back into a normal speaking soul, one who writes simply, easily and without fanfare. One who writes to be understood rather than to impress.
It’s so darn easy to become intoxicated by words. But self-absorbed, delicious words are like Miley Cyrus that spark regurgitations of an unseemly variety. One should never twerk in real life, and certainly never with words on a written page. Sure, you’ll get attention. But remember, perpetuity, after all, is a long time.
The older I get the more I struggle with writing. Not because I have forgotten how to construct a sentence or form a reasonable thought – though I’ve been accused of both – but because I struggle to make a point resonate even more than before. Every word matters these days, not just because we are bombarded by so many, but because the competition for intellectual shelf space is so fierce.
Yes, words matter. And always reememba, spelling counts.
Choose wisely and you’ll always market well.