I like to think of my readers as intelligent. You may not all be Einsteins (though who knows, perhaps you are) but I can tell from your comments and blogs that you’re thoughtful and sensible folk. I am also intelligent (this is not a boast as I’ll explain below) and a key part of intelligence is openness; being receptive to new ideas. Creativity is always searching, always questing, never 100% certain. So yesterday I checked out a list of fifteen (it’s always a multiple of five, isn’t it?) tips for better blogs. I’ve also signed up to daily blog prompts, not that I need them but it’s useful to have extra ideas from time to time.
My first impression was that the ‘Really Useful Blog Writing Guidelines‘ was basically ‘how to write for morons.’ First, you should check ‘readability’ which means, don’t make it too hard to read. Don’t use long and complicated words. Avoid difficult concepts. Hm. Not sure about that… Then eschew (oo, is that a complicated word?) eschew linking words (aka conjunctions) and use short sentences. Nope, don’t agree with that. Forget about the passive voice (depends whether it’s needed, otherwise I agree) dispense with the past perfect tense and don’t use excessive punctuation. OK, I might be guilty of that one. Oh, and leave lots of white space.
I can see where they’re coming from: keep it punchy, keep it real, cut out the verbiage. Fair enough. But I want to write for intelligent, thoughtful people; people who care about books and ideas, people who are engaged with culture and politics; people whose attention span is longer than that of a gnat. People who can follow a sentence through a couple of conjoined clauses without losing the thread. Folk who care about the difference between simple past and past perfect. There are a lot of claims on our time so I keep posts short, but short doesn’t have to mean shallow.
If all that’s elitist, then call me Jacob Rees Mogg. But intelligent doesn’t have to mean highly educated. Intelligence is not merely an accident of birth, it’s a quality (or spectrum of qualities) you develop. In the end I don’t write for an elite; I write for people who care – about words, ideas, culture, gardening, anything. I don’t write for folk who can’t be arsed.
Here endeth the epistle.
PS Far too many brackets in that post
4 thoughts on “Are You a Moron?”
I’d never call you Jacob Re-smog. How about Jane Austen?
I’ll answer to that name!
I’m sure, subconsciously at least, I write for an audience that’s in one form or another, but dumbing-down writing to attract morons… I’m thinking such advice only applies to those on that imaginary money-making trail. For everyone else, like ourselves, we should write however, and whatever, we want to write (or even aim higher (rather than lower))* and whoever that works well for will surely keep coming back for more.
*brackets in brackets!
I guess we all have a reader or readers in mind, though I’m not sure I could describe mine. I’m sure they’re not a moron though