A few weeks ago I got the urge to check my Orkut profile which is a conflict of interest as I’ve been bewitched by Facebook. But then again it’s a story for some other time.
As a result, I found myself in familiar grounds browsing through the various communities till I fumbled onto the one I was looking for. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the banter that makes it one of the liveliest bar the social plague of Orkut which has brought many of its contemporaries to its knees. It felt like the fragrance that you never seem to forget.
Thus I started reading couple of the posts till the one that puzzled me the most. It had no wisdom, sensibility, lacking pure judgment but had its own perk of utter insanity!
I had once been told by one of my English teacher, “You’re not writing to impress, you’re writing to communicate“.
It was an off-hand comment made by him about the way we should be writing our assignment. I don’t think it occurred to anybody else how brilliant a thing it was to say; but evidently, I thought it was a great piece of advice and it has stuck with me.
It was such an obvious thing to say, “You’re writing to communicate”.
But after reading that post I’ve found so many people have chiseled in their minds that they have to write in a certain way – To use a certain tone and scholarly words and follow certain formats in order to sound smart. But if it’s at the expense of the clarity of your message- what’s the point? Who cares how smart you sound if nobody has any idea what you’re talking about.
Lately I’ve been falling off the wagon. And the only way to get back on it is to candidly characterize brevity.
My thinking is, unless someone is reading your work for pleasure, you don’t want to drown them in literary clichés thinking it will impress them into thinking what you’ve written is worth reading. There’s a huge difference in the language used to write something for clarity, or technical writing and writing something for artistic expression, or more creative writing. And too few people make this distinction. I’m sure everybody has had experiences with these people. People who make their writing so overly-fancy-sounding thinking it’s impressive, when in reality the reader is tilting their head and needs a second opinion to figure out exactly what they’re reading, feel free to share.
So, something to keep in mind or disregard:
You’re not writing to impress. You’re writing to communicate.