When walking to my car [ahem, minivan racecar] after work I heard some young medical students talking behind me. A young guy, mid-twenties maybe was telling a story to two girls as they walked towards the el [Chicago for subway].
“I had this patient the other day, a male, about 25.”
First, I thought it was funny how he described his patient as male, 25. It sounded so very medical-ish.
“I asked him if he had any testicular pain.” He continued.
“What’s a testicular?” The patient asked.
“Testicles.” The pre-med dude said.
“What are testicles?” asked the patient, not understanding what the doctor was referring to.
What the student said next is what baffled me.
“I wanted to tell the guy, YOUR BALLS DUDE, YOUR BALLS! But I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to say “BALLS”.... so I had to ask.” He finally said.
As he said this my eyeballs popped out of my head. Of course the med students couldn’t see me because I was ahead of them by this point.
Let me ask you this.
Do you want to live in a world where you need permission to say BALLS?
BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS!!!!!!
Do you want to hear professionals use big words and jargoned-up speak?
Or do you want to hear plain language?
Do you think big words with oodles of syllables make you sound smart?
Are you worried what people will think of you if you write with simple words?
Will they think you dumbed it down? Will they think you’re dumb?
Absolutely fucking not.
Writing clearly and simply makes your reader’s life easier. They have to do less work to decode your message.
They get to save their precious brain power for their own work. Not for reading your sentences.
If you can’t write something clearly, there’s a chance you’re dumb. Simplify the message. Move on.
Don’t write for your friends, write for your audience. Always.
PS - start with the truth, then edit and play with your edge