When learning to write, you have to learn the rules. And then you start writing, and you learn that you have to break all the rules to do it well. But what do I know? You have to be pretty desperate to get your writing advice from a Mickey. After all, it’s not like Mickey was a writing teacher for over thirty years… oh, wait a minute… yes, he was.
Okay, so I decided to write today about the K.I.S.S. rule of writing. That’s right, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Other writing teachers tell me it should be, Keep It Simple, Sweetie, because you can’t say “stupid” to a kid. Okay, that’s mostly true. But I use “stupid” when I use the rule myself. I’m talking to Mickey after all.
So, I better stop “bird-walking” in the middle of this essay, because “bird-walking”, drifting off topic for no purpose, is the opposite of keeping it simple.
I try to write posts of no more than 500 words. I write an introduction that says something stupid or inane that speaks to the theme I want to talk about. Then I pile in a few sentences that talk more about the theme and do a good job of irritating the reader to the point that they can’t wait to get to the conclusion. Finally I finish up with a really pithy and wonderful bit of wisdom to tie a knot in the bow of my essay. I save that bit for the end as a sort of revenge for all the readers who don’t read all the way to the end, even on a short post like this one. Of course, I could be wrong about how wonderful and pithy it is. What does “pithy” even mean? It can be like the soup in the bottom of the chili pot, thicker and spicier than what came before… or possibly overcooked with burned beans.
That was another bit of “bird-walking”, wasn’t it? See, you have to break the rules to make it work better.
So, in order to keep it simple, I guess I need to end here for today. Simple can be the same thing as short, but more often you are trying to achieve “simple and elegant” and pack a lot of meaning and resonance into a few lines. And I, of course, am totally incapable of doing that with my purple paisley prose. And there’s the knot in that bow.