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The case against (superfluous) words.

In middle and high school, I painstakingly worked at making my writing as overwrought as possible.

To appear sophisticated and intelligent.

Because complicated ideas need to be expressed in a complicated way (I think Lacan said something to that same effect – at any rate, I swiftly embraced him and his writings in all their complexity at university).

And I didn't just overwrite for English class.

History.

Biology.

Even Chemistry.

And the few written Math assignments we had.

(And my PE teacher liked my written assignment so much that she used it as a positive example - never mind that my hand and eye coordination is atrocious.)

I eventually stripped back.

Now I'm very minimalist. (Or try to be.)

I only use complicated words when simpler ones genuinely won't do.

(And in most cases, they do suffice.)

I especially hate "utilize."

Why?

It comes down to time, and user friendliness. And of course Rutherford's argument that "if you can't explain your physics to a barmaid it is probably not very good physics."

There's so much I need to do – and want to do – each day that I want complex ideas expressed as simply as possible for my own consumption.

So I imagine others do, too.

So whether I'm writing for clients or myself, I try to strip back as much as possible.

Making the writing process a crucible: most words get burned away, until only the pure essence of insight remains.

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