Another great blog post from The Freelancer about the relationship between how we write and who can read what we write. Great writing does not have to be obtuse, obscure, impenetrable or inaccessible. The opposite is true – less is more. If there is an easy way to say it, make it so.
If comprehension of your ideas is what you’re after, find the cleanest, simplest form of expression and your ideas will be shared with many more people. That’s what I love about great art, it cuts to the chase. Poetry in particular can reduce the most complicated experiences to an essence of words that pack an enormous punch.
Shane Snow, author of the blog post I am referencing, pushed Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea through the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Index and discovered this great novel was written to be comprehended at the fourth grade level! Wow, that means a lot of people get the gift of Hemingway’s brilliance. I have a lot of friends with kids and several of them are sharing reading – both parent and child are reading the same book and comparing notes. There is wonderful literature for kids but how great is it that there is wonderful literature, thoughtfully written that spans the decades that Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea has.
Of course, it’s harder to write complex ideas with simple language – that’s the art part, the brilliant part, the good old-fashioned hard work part. I read once that the essence of writing was rewriting – that’s the painful part. Thank you all who suffer for your art so the rest of us can delight in it’s meaning.