In a world complicated enough, too few writers seem to value clarity.
The Lost Art of Clarity in Modern Writing
In a world complicated enough by outside distractions, too few writers seem to value clarity. We, as a group, have attempted to rise from the humble beginnings to achieve art. We strive for a modern, slick feel to our work; an attempt to garner praise and notice from a world more focused on visual than written media. But; isn’t writing art in itself? I have always been led to believe that it was.
Today’s writers seem to search for abstract connections in their prose, eliciting bemusement and chaos instead.
A recent post reinforced something I had wondered at for years; why do they teach students to force abstract thoughts onto paper? They either exist or they don’t.
As far as that, if you try and force the abstract, you simply end up with the incomprehensible.
Writing is a form of communication.
When pared down, writing is a form of communication. It is something you are conveying to someone else. It is not some secret that only you should understand. By putting pen to paper, fingers to keys or words to the music you are conveying something of yourself to your audience. Just because you hide it under a volume of words or disjointed imagery does not make it better.
By laboring under this assumption, too many writers make the mistake of taking a haughty tone with there work, attempting to surpass “the expectations” of the uninformed. As my Eng Lit teacher once said, Bull!
Big thoughts often do require a deeper vocabulary, but; again, remember who you are writing for. What message are you attempting to send across the void to your reader?
Stephen King, a man who is well published and greatly debated as to talent said it thus, “I write for the reader. Without him, I am simply a man mentally masturbating.” Quite pleasuring yourself and write for your audience.
Many writers convey deep meaningful subtleties without intent; it simply is a part of the writing process. Hemingway, Faulkner and Twain; all wrote for the average man. Why? Because while the egg heads may pontificate on subject matter and underlying tones of deep mental anguish, the average Joe buys books.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Blank Page
This is critical. Too many of use have that fear, not always; but, occasionally we see the blank white of the paper or screen and feel we must vanquish it with lofty ideas and heavy words. Stop. Breathe.
Treat each project as a lover; caress, cherish each point, each idea. Don’t pound away at it like some Saturday night bar pickup. This is why you’re here, this is what you’ve come all this way for; relish the moment you have with this love.
I often feel my work is too wordy, too volumnous; compared to some others it definately is, but; the trend of being ponderous is quickly making me look frugal. Writers, tell your tale, with whatever medium you prefer, but; don’t hide the message. We all would like to read your thoughts.