We help people fix business problems . We design business structures for them. We help them secure funding and determine strategies for growth. All of these things have one thing in common: At some point, all of what is said is boiled down to words on paper. Needless to say, I do a lot of writing.
I work hard to keep things interesting. Since I can’t throw in a murder or other malfeasance to keep it interesting, I look at word choices. I try not to be repetitive. Say something once, why say it again?
I block my writing in shorter paragraphs, since long ones tend to put people off. Shorter paragraphs are easier to skim, which is what most people do with business writing as they look for particular pieces of information.
Pictures do a lot to make writing easier to read. They’re little islands of distraction in a river of words. Serious journals dedicated to weighty matters rarely use pictures as they can indicate a bias on the part of the writer/publisher. But for most readers a thoughtful picture helps if it relates to the subject at hand. What doesn’t help is when I want to put four or five pictures on each page and use the words as filler.
As difficult as the writing process can be, it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do. But rewarding for whom? At a recent presentation on social media, I heard that 90% of future web content will be video. Why?
Because web pundits believe that people don’t want to read anymore. This information is more than a drag for those of us who work the craft.
The beauty of reading is that it’s an internal experience. The work of interpreting the words forces you to slow down. Sometimes you may have to question what a word or a sentence means. It starts your thought processes. Then you take those words and relate it to your own experiences. They ring true or they don’t. Reading leads to both understanding and evaluation.
Video is external and passive. Many people accept what is presented to them simply because it’s video. Video carries implied authority, if only for the fact that the creator has a camera. You watch the video and for the moment, it has your attention. Or does it? If it isn’t ‘hooky’ enough, if it doesn’t have something to catch your imagination, you click away. Video can be mental popcorn. Once it’s gone, it’s hard to remember.
We live in complex times. Some issues, even ones that have grave impact on your life, are boring until you understand them. With reading you have half a prayer of making the important connections the writer is trying to communicate. Otherwise, we’ll have to put an alien attack sequence in the beginning of that video about coming government spending cuts