While reading The Writer’s Little Helper (yes, the same book from this post–I told you I was actually reading it), I came across several references to readability. The author, James V. Smith, is a big fan of readability. And so am I. But I wasn’t always.
One of the publications that got me back to writing was a newspaper that our church produced. We had a circulation run of about 3,000, and twelve pages to fill with news. And the editor was a writer gal who was very serious about journalism.
At one of our staff meetings, she came in with a handout. “Here are instructions for enabling readability statistics. Use them.” Then she gave us the numbers that she wanted our writing to meet. It was an eye-opening experience for me.
I mean, I was a journalist, too. I thought I knew the ins and outs of writing. But there is a big difference between fine writing–and writing that people will read. So, yeah. I had to make some changes.
That must have been at least ten years ago. But the lessons I learned from using the readability statistics stuck with me. And I can prove it. Just read my post on The Muffin.
I may not always get around to reading my writing books, but if you give me a handout, we’re golden.