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You've Been Cancelled
Sort Yourself Out eBayers
The Art of Not Writing
Give Me Your Voice
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My Way of Losing My Mind is Quite Constructive
I'm A Cilla Black Fan On Bike
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Monday, August 31

The Art of Not Writing

Watch out, this one's going to get weird.

In personal blog posts, now largely replaced by social media whingeing, as with columns in newspapers, sometimes the very point of the writing is to write in your own florid voice. You can construct complex sentences, try to broaden the use of vocabulary, talk around the subject, and even introduce your own delightful rhythms into the composition.

This is because personality writing begets readers who don't really care what you're saying, so long as it's you saying it.

Columnists like Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell, Mark Steel, and Stewart Lee, can all publish collections of their columns if they so desire, because it's their tone of voice and mood which readers are there for. How current a Charlie Booker column from 2006 is is immaterial. It's his voice.

Conversely, a lot of content on the internet is intended to convey information. I work as an editor on a technology website where the aim is to efficiently deliver the ideas for an international audience. That's not to say that such sites don't have a voice. They generally adopt an attitude to the subject and the reader. However, such sites actually require the writer NOT to write.

Writing is a spectrum. It runs from one end - putting data into structured grammar - through to the aforementioned other end, where you let your personality and voice play out on the page.

In this world of scrolling, the most generous writers will use the simplest language to convey the message with a minimum of their own wibbling on. However, ungenerous writers will either:

  • Waste your time with wibble
  • Provoke you with illogical invective
  • Try to hook you into virtually empty pages of non-content with a provocative title
Talking of which, I must go and read a list of 100 well-time photographs which may or may not include a boob-slip.


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