There are times when writing can inspire such strong emotions that you find yourself becoming critical or overly clever. While it may sound or look good to you and a few people who know you, it may not always have the same kind of reception with the rest of your audience. By using a tone of writing carelessly, you might not get the kind of results you want. Here are reasons why you should avoid being clever and critical just to write copy and how to improve your writing instead:
Being overly clever is seen as arrogance
You’ve probably come across writers who try too hard to impress their audience. You will agree that they often seem condescending and annoying. The reader’s usual reaction is often, ‘What, does this writer think I’m dumb?’
By being too clever, you’ll alienate your audience, who won’t be too pleased at being subjected to a write-up that seems to insinuate that they are ignorant. Instead, speak to them the way you would to a respected colleague and don’t simply assume that you know better.
Being critical can ruffle the wrong feathers
There are writing styles and topics that call for a writer to use a critical tone. Satire, for example, is very often critical. However, really great writers still manage to inject good humor into the writing, which is actually a sign of genuine talent.
When writing reviews, for example, you also need to be critical in order to inform the reader the positive and negative points of the person, event or product being reviewed. Being critical could be harsh but if you can phrase your sentences well, your write-up will be easier and more fun to read.
Be like Shakespeare
No, it’s not about iambic pentameters and rhymes but being able to state the obvious without doing so. Instead of confronting the issue upfront by being clever and critical, find ways to describe, illustrate, critique or opine. You can add words, omit some, use metaphors and other tricks of the language. The key here is to produce a well-written piece. Just don’t overdo it, though or people will know you’re trying to be clever.
Avoid strong language
You don’t have to be offensive just so people will know that you have something to say. Sometimes, writers can’t help using strong language when trying to be critical about something.
Some writers may even use strong language in the hopes of preventing boredom in their readers. However, this trick often backfires since not everyone is appreciative of language used only in B action movies and street fights. If you use strong language out of context, your readers might think that you are either trying to be clever or being overly critical.
Instead of falling into this trap, turn to useful references such as a dictionary or a thesaurus for better alternatives. You’d be surprised at how well you can write copy that expresses exactly what you want to say using well-chosen words. You’ll gain more respect for it.
Use humor instead
Instead of being clever and critical when writing copy, consider appealing to your readers’ funny side. Some of the best writing ever produced used humor to express opinions and ideas even about the most serious of topics. Doing so will allow you to explore a different aspect of your subject and to offer your readers a means to see things in a different light.