I use to think of myself as a pretty good writer. I was a mass communications major and my courses in journalism, advertising and writing for broadcast, instilled habits of language clarity, brief sentences and abundant whitespace.
These habits were annoying to some of my liberals arts professors who seemed to cling to the days of yore, and actually used “whereas” “inasmuch” and “shan’t” in their own communication.
In a discussion of my progress on a term paper, a professor advised me that he understood the US Constitution very well and that there was no need to for me to “dumb down” my explanation of appellate decisions for his benefit.
There were also professors who resented my short sentences and paragraphs.
I’ve always had problem with the concept of “dumbing down” content.
The practice of crafting content that is more consumable, and available to a wider audience seems like a savvy strategy to me. It’s more like you are “smartening up” your content.
Likewise, if you succeed in describing a complex topic in easy-to-understand terms, don’t ruin the moment by saying it’s a “quick and dirty” explanation. “Succinct and elegant” is far more appropriate.
There are myriad reasons that I’ve identified that have kept me from writing in recent years. Though I think the one that looms largest is that I seem to have drifted far from my habits of clarity and brevity of earlier in my adult life.
A lot of recent my writing seems bloated and rambling. The act of editing something such beastly drafts dampens my enthusiasm for writing. Hell, it dampens my enthusiasm for enthusiasm.
I’m trying to be a good writer again. There are a many areas in which I can improve, but I’ll begin with a promise that nothing that I write going forward will be dumbed down, or quick and dirty; at least not intentionally so.