overly complex, complicated writing: why do we write not like we speak?12 Jul 2017
the other day i was talking with a friend about the process of writing in academia. we got to talking about how, often, there are clear and specific ways to explain very complex ideas and yet the output that academia prefers (requires?) doesn’t allow for ideas to be explored simply. this out, the currency of academia, peer-reviewed journal articles, create a demand for inaccessible writing. in my opinion, this form of output is needlessly hindered by this complexification (is that a word? am i doing it right now? lol).
that is to say, i’m all for peer-review of research and work (and in some ways, other fields could/should really learn and benefit from this structure). what i’m not here for is the way in which one has to write to get a paper into a journal: with a high-reading level, overly complex sentences, and lack of compelling structure and prose.
this is connected a more general phenomenon i’ve noticed. i noticed this thing first in myself and then in others (via direct observation and also reading that this is a somewhat common phenomenon). there is this habit to write somehow write differently than we speak. and if we end up writing with more complexity than we speak, in the process i am coming to believe that we kill/ruin output.
now, of course, writing isn’t simply spoken words written. it is genuinely a different platform and so there’s an argument to be made, for sure, about how writing can (and sometimes should) differ from speaking. and still, the process of making an idea incomprehensible (and also boring) seems unecessary.
though i guess if you actually speak like academic papers, then your writing actually still is what you’d speak in written form. but there we have the question of why do you speak in way that keeps most people (i.e. other folks without academic training) from understanding you? and then there’s the question of audience and context and place and culture, all of which relate to with whom and how we communicate…
ok this is spiraling out of control… so many ideas! cutting this off here, heh.
words / writing / post-processing
352w / 16min / 7min