I always thought that the beauty of writing is also in reading, but when writing for the web, one tends to be a little too schematic to conform to its rules, with the result of appearing trivial and superficial.
Since I was a child I have always had a deeply articulated writing style because I have always thought that it is important to make yourself understood, however on the web the rules go exactly in the opposite direction, often making everything superficial and vapid.
It’s a topic I’ve been struggling with for years, starting from when I got angry with my press office because when I sent them a text, what came back was something else. “You have to be synthetic” the mythical Davide Porro , my peer and my mentor in communication always said to me , “But you also have to make yourself understood” I echoed him. Meeting after meeting, this leitmotiv of the synthesis always came back.
Which, in hindsight, is not wrong, especially when it comes to corporate communication, as well as the web, but with the necessary exceptions, especially when the topic to be explained is complex and requires continuous investigation. No less important to me, is the fact that writing should also have its own aesthetics and character that cannot always be given when summarized.
At some point I started writing the drafts in English, or rather in American English, which is a much more direct language, with less frills and to a certain extent, also less exposed to interpretations other than that desired by the author. We Europeans, especially the Italians, have this somewhat courtly taste in writing that I imagine is part of our cultural tradition.
Over the years, writing for some technical magazines, I think I have found a sort of compromise between the popular aspect of a writing and the need to keep the reader glued to the reading until the end. Today they call it engagement.
But it is when I found myself working with the so-called “shooting scripts”, or rather the scripts that are used to shoot films and fiction, that I understood how being synthetic should not necessarily lead to being inaccurate. When you have little space to describe a scene but you have to explain what happens, you become synthetic and precise at the same time.
In a more recent period I approached writing for the web and although I strongly disliked direct response copy-writing, I changed my way of writing again. In this blog, which is a kind of collection of thoughts, outside the professional context and therefore far from certain writing rules, I think I found a good compromise.
Here I do not have to convince anyone to do something, it is not “copy-writing” but simply a storytelling of things as I see them and how I live them, in an understandable way but also by lingering a little in that playful use of words that now, if not in novels, it becomes increasingly rare to find.
If I have to say it all I hate, for example, it is that habits, functional to search engines, to put a third level title in almost every paragraph that often anticipates the content of what follows.
I know that the inverted pyramid in journalistic writing is a consolidated practice, but what about the pleasure of going slowly towards a conclusion, without titles being used as bait to intrigue the reader and induce him to read everything else? Especially because nobody usually goes to the end of a piece nowadays. It is the strength of fake news. but that’s another story
What about the use of verbs and indirect forms? Or better about the horror expressed by certain copy-writing gurus towards them? I like to use them sometimes and although I am aware of the fact that they could generate less clear text, I once again cite that slightly retro taste of playing with words and their sound.
These are the reasons why I write this blog which, as mentioned above, allows me to express my thoughts without necessarily having to depend on the copy-writing rules for the web which, if it were not understood, I’m not a fan. Come on, let’s be honest, the quality of a content is also assessed by the way it is expressed and if, in order to accumulate clicks and likes, I must be forced to limit my creativity with short and banal phrases, then I prefer to be a little more myself and a little less canonical but at least different from the flatness that often surrounds us. Let’s put it this way: I prefer content-writing to copy-writing.