Posted by: bluesyemre | January 22, 2018

What separates #GoodWriting from #BadWriting? by #ShaneSnow @shanesnow


The other day, I was struck by a quote I read in a blog post about vulnerability from author and Wharton professor Adam Grant: “Good communicators make themselves look smart. Great communicators make their audiences feel smart.”

Grant’s words reminded me of the time I discovered, to my horror, that I write at an 8th grade reading level. This discovery led me to study the reading level of great writers(and also not-so-great ones). Turns out the most popular authors tend to write at a lower reading level than the typical person in her or his field.

I came to the conclusion that this kind of writing is popular because, as my favorite journalism school professor put it, “Great writing speeds you along.” If you don’t have to look up words or think too hard about what you’re reading, you turn pages faster and enjoy them more—even if you can read more advanced prose.

But Grant’s quote also gave me pause. It added another dimension to my theory about good writing. There’s also a lot of really crappy, unenjoyable work written at lower reading levels. So what makes the difference?

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