why writers are out of work Part II

Long ago, newsletters were written to be read. People did read them. It didn’t matter how they looked, because the content was what people wanted.

I was reminded of this, the other day, when I was chatting with someone who was writing her newsletter, really writing it (she is a writer) and crafting every word, so that it flowed. It really mattered what it said. She would later type it up on the computer, and print it out as though they were pages of a letter. No one would complain that the font wasn’t pretty, or the masthead didn’t look quite right, because there would be no masthead. Of course, her newsletter is going to older folks, people who actually read, and don’t worry about fonts and colors and folds and how pretty everything looks.

So, perhaps that is why writers are out of work. People don’t read the newsletters. They look at the pretty colors and pictures, but no more. Words are treated as a bother, in trying to fit things in, designers will cut out words, or squeeze them, or complain that this or that article is too long or too short, and not thinking about the reader, how hard will be to read the type if you make it small so it will fit on the page.

I do a monthly newsletter, so I am probably as guilty as the next designer in thinking of only how hard it is to get the text on the page, not the end result of the reader reading it.

Newspapers have the same problem. They know that most people don’t read past the first jump (place where the article goes from one page to the other). Some paper’s solution to this is to just write really short articles.

We have gotten shorter articles, with less information, until our newspapers have become our televisions. sigh

And Julia Hyde, the writer friend of mine, pointed out the other day she had found another phrase on another website that was repeated all over the web.

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