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Be Concise in Content, Poetic in Prose

At church this week, one of the talks was about simplicity. The speaker even mentioned the power of simplicity in writing. He was right. Direct, concise language is powerful and meaningful.


But as you’ve perhaps noticed, simplicity in language may not be my strongest point. I love using descriptive adjectives and sometimes even flowery, flowing phrases. My mind naturally composes that way. My ears perked up when another speaker in the same church meeting showed his mastery of alliteration and imagery as he reminded parents of their responsibility to “guide their children safely through the stormy seas of sin.” That was powerful and beautiful.


As you record your legacy tale, do so in your own voice, whatever is natural and familiar and normal for you. A reader will know your personality through the words you use. Your posterity will also appreciate a deliberate focus on the choices and events of your life with greatest import and consequence, instead of on the minutia of everyday life.


Simplicity absolutely has a role in writing, as do carefully chosen words that add rich meaning and color and depth. So the message I take away today is this:


Be concise in content, poetic in prose.


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