Do You Want Your Writing to Inspire Others? Stop Trying to Impress People

trgrtgeyWriting is one of the most important tools for communication that help in the preservation and dissemination of information. With the rise of technology, writing is becoming easier and more fun. However, a few issues in the minds of inexperienced writers still need a bigger solution than technology. One of the basic things that some writers and students struggle with is sticking to the very purpose of writing.

With all the information available on the internet, it is very easy to get carried and abuse the opportunity of writing and turn it into another platform for showmanship and fighting for attention. This temptation is not exclusive to students because it is something that is embedded in the human ego.

Are you writing to sound smart or to show you are already smart?

You also need to understand that there is nothing wrong with being or even looking smart. The only thing you need is to differentiate between being smart and trying to sound smart. The reason here is that when you don’t differentiate between being and trying to sound smart, you end up missing the very goal of your writing. You also end up being and acting the exact opposite of what you are trying to sound or look like. That is why this post seeks to help you to maintain sobriety and maturity so that you can remain smart and show it in your writings.

If you are not a poet or a novelist, keep off the smart game

As a student who is preparing for official writing in the marketplace, you have no reason to go the way of the poet or novelist where you can play with words and try to appear smart. The first reason here is that if you are writing in an academic setting, your first and main readers will be your lecturers who have already gone many stages ahead of you in the game. Therefore, it is unwise to try playing the “smarter one” game with your professors because they have been examining hundreds of students in the same area for many years.

Second, when you graduate, you will be tackling writing in a practical manner that is supposed to communicate to people in real life situations and not in entertainment or pastime settings. That is why you need to train yourself to write to address the needs of your readers. So, if you are not planning to become a professional novelist or a poet, you need to write to meet needs—, which is smart enough to make you a great writer.

Deal with fancy words and phrases

One of the biggest blunders that rookie writers make in the process of trying to play “smart” is the use of bombastic and obscure words that sound “big.” But the truth is that if you must error in your writing, then it is better to error on the side of being simple and clear, rather than sounding complex. Even if you are addressing your professors, you need to know that your papers may still find their way into the library of your university and other students just like you will need to read them. Take a look this kind of “smart sounding” writing:

This is what it means to sound really “smart”

“The government is behaving like a man who has betrothed a pulchritudinous damsel and when she bellyaches him for failing to regale her, he skedaddles.”

Just look at this statement and ask yourself what is so hard or “unsmart” about saying the same thing in a simplified way like this:

“The government is behaving like a man who has courted a beautiful girl and when she disturbs him for failing to satisfy her, he takes off.”

If you want to use this kind of wording, then be sure that you will be creating a gap between you and your readers. But remember that the purpose of written communication is to create a bridge between you and your audience—not to build walls.

Don’t abuse words

In the process of wanting to sound like they are the smarter ones on stage, many rookie writers go to ridiculous levels of abusing words to sound smart. For instance, instead of just using the word “methods,” they go to the extent of “logicizing” it so that it becomes “methodologies.” To them, adding the “logy” suffix makes them look and sound really “learned.”

Going foreign

Another way of trying to look and sound “smart” in writing is using foreign words with the intention of impressing people. Most people who are inflated with this problem think that by incorporating Greek, Latin, or French words in their English writings will make them appear “widely read and versed.” Have you ever seen a public institution such as a school or hospital with strange Latin mottos and yet it is in an English-speaking country? For heaven’s sake, if this is not insanity, then most likely insanity no longer exists!

Honestly, there is no wisdom in you using the word “genesis” when you can write beginning. Why should you wear out people with “per capita” while you can clearly write per person or per head? Worse still, most of these fellows never put themselves in the shoes of their readers so they can put the English meanings of those Greek and Latin terms in brackets.

Killing your readers with jargon

Another “smart” way of burying your message in obscurity is going the jargon way. Most inexperienced writers usually assume that loading their writings with jargon makes them get that sense of being ranked as “an authority” in that field. But the truth is that jargon will do more harm to your writing than good. Unless you are addressing a conference of industry experts, and it is necessary to use jargon, use simple language that everyone can understand. Remember, it does not make you look or sound naïve or “nonexpert” just because you are presenting your ideas in a simple and clear language. In fact, if you try to overload your writings with jargon you will end up making your readers suspicious of the very expertise you are trying to portray to them.

Present your ideas in a short and simple format

The last trap you should avoid if you want to shed off the false aura of smartness is presenting your ideas and thoughts using short sentences and paragraphs. There is no point loading a single sentence with too much information only to give your readers a hard time trying to decipher what you are putting across. It is better to split your sentences and aid your readers to understand them, than overload them and end up losing their attention and interest. As long as a sentence is complete, you don’t need to worry about making it long. Just make sure that it carries the thought you wanted to put across.

Parting shot

There you are with ideas on how to avoid the “sound smart” game. You are now abreast with how you can write maturely to inspire and communicate instead of trying to impress and end up standing in the way of your own message.

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