Treat Your Readers as if They Actually Had Brains

Several years back I met Susan Sontag (this was shortly before she died, RIP). She was giving a speech in Tübingen, and I decided on the spur of the moment to travel several hundred kilometers (one way) to listen to her talk (I had also been reading some of her fine work, especially her book “Regarding the Pain of Others”).

It was definitely worth the trip (I also met up with an old friend of mine who is an economics professor there).

I learned many things from the talk — one of which was: Simply assume your reader can actually think for themselves (and expect that they will do so). This rung very true, and indeed it had already been kind of my writing style… but hearing it from this expert craftswoman was music to my ears.

My target audience is not people who need to have everything spelled out as if they were morons. These type of people should be reading operating manuals, or maybe telephone books or something like that.

Today, I read the following on a blog post:

We would like to thank our partner 99designs for graciously covering all costs for this article and keeping it #AdFree

LOL, not only are the authors of this website blatantly lying in my face, but they think I am too stupid to figure that out.

The article was about graphic design issues (something I know little about), and was recommended by a friend who is knowledgeable in the field. I read it through and found that I’m probably not doing anything terribly wrong.

I am particularly happy that people who still use Google may now be led to believe the article is in some way related to 99designs! :P

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