A 3-1/2-year-old son was sitting in the back seat of a car and eating an apple. Suddenly, he piped up and asked, “Daddy, why is my apple turning brown?”
“Because,” his dad explained, “after you ate the skin off, the meat of the apple came into contact with the air, which caused it to oxidize, thus changing its molecular structure and turning it into a different color.”
There was a long pause. Then the son asked quietly from the back seat, “Daddy, are you talking to me?”
Love this story! It reminds us of two key things we’d all benefit greatly from remembering as writers.
First, we write to be read. We may be writing a story because it’s something we want and have to write, but it’s also likely that we don’t want to leave it languishing in a drawer or on our computer. We want it to be read. We don’t necessarily write for readers, but to them. I believe most of us who wield words want our work to be out in the world—to be read and paid attention to. Readers matter — let’s share something wonderful with them.
Second, one measure of good writing is whether or not we can say something complex simply. There are lots of writers who seem to do the opposite. They take a simple idea and complexity it, dressing it up in all kinds of bells and whistles to attract attention and show how talented they are. But it’s those writers who can take a complex idea and find its core message and share that in clear, vibrant language that I admire. Those are the writers who write dangerously — who dare to share.
So let’s remember the boy with the apple in the back of the car today. Let’s make sure we write to be communicate, not impress. Write on!
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