Simplify, Simplify.

Since coming back to work at Drury, I’ve been reminded of how things get done in a big organization:
Slowly.
I’ve heard the cliche more than once: A committee asked to design a horse will come back with a camel (harhar).

True, sometimes that kind of outside-the-box creativity is spot on (i’m never one to backtalk creativity in the face of rules-following. nuh-uh.) but sometimes you just need a horse.
That’s it.
Not three meetings later.
Now.

This week I’m learning that a committee asked to design a brochure can come back with a novel, and I’m reminded of one of the golden rules of writing: simplify, simplify.
(Another golden rule: throw around Thoreau references as needed.)

Simplicity. The surest way to eliminate sentences that make you gag. Also the surest way to outsmart the English section on the ACT. 99% of the time, the simplest answer is the correct one.

(Pauses for a moment to recognize hypocrisy of own oft-verbose bloggery. Pause, Pause…okay.)

So back to the brochure. In the interest of being explicitly clear, people can turn:
11:30-1:00 Lunch
into
Lunch will be continually served from 11:30 to 1:00

And we will be continually eating it.

An editors’ listserv I subscribe to went apeshit last week over the use of “lagniappe” meaning, something given as a bonus or gift. This group of word-nerds is onto something: there really is something about just the right word.

Who wants a “gift” when you could have a “lagniappe”?
Who wants a boring old horse when you could have a zebra?

(Well, someone who wants a horse, that’s who.)

Sometimes lunch is just lunch.
Simplify.

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3 thoughts on “Simplify, Simplify.

  1. Your frequent use of “simplify” is now making me repeat “semper fi” over and over in my head.

  2. Pingback: fail harder. there is no try. | what sarah is: reading

  3. I am guilty of that myself. Too many words floating in my head, and to simplify does not come naturally. Also, perfect use of “apeshit” in the blog talking about horses, zebras, and camels. :)

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