An Australian study has found that txtngs fstr till sum1 trys 2 rd it. Um, I think they mean that using abbreviations and shorthand makes it much faster to write text messages — but twice as long for the poor recipient to read and understand them.
Writing can be a lot of fun. That’s why texting and Twitter and blogs are so popular. Everyone feels a natural human urge to communicate. It’s especially easy and fun when you’re just messing around, if it doesn’t really matter whether anyone actually reads and understands what you’re trying to say. In other words, writing is fun when results don’t matter.
But when something important is on the line, when your writing has to explain, entertain or persuade, when it has to deliver a return on your investment of time and money, writing is a lot harder. That’s why clients pay thousands of dollars for a good sales letter (or its online equivalent, a landing page). If the sales message is well-written and persuasive, the client stands to make many times that amount.
“Easy writing means hard reading,” said Samuel Johnson. In other words, getting and holding the attention of an overworked, multi-tasking, distracted reader is a wee bit tougher than knocking out another quick tweet. Trying to persuade someone to actually do what you want them to do? Now you’re into some really tough terrain.
Don’t believe me? Try writing a note that will convince your kids to go to bed on time when you’re not home. Try explaining to a co-worker how to perform a semi-complex process. Try convincing someone to vote for you, or why they should buy from you rather than your competitor. Then see how easy writing is.
Believe me, I’m not trying to discourage anyone from writing. Quite the opposite. The problem is, good writing fools us. It seduces us all. Good writing makes it look easy. How many times have you thought as you’re reading a book, article or ad, “That’s the perfect way to express it. But it’s so obvious. How else could you possibly say it?”
What most people don’t realize is how long the writer might have sweated and struggled to get it to that point. How many drafts and revisions she might have written and rejected before the work evolved to that “so perfect it’s obvious” status.
Next time someone tells you it’s easy and fun to write, ask to read something they’ve written. See how easy and fun it is to read.