Quality Quantity

When I begin writing posts, I think “How can I make people read this?”

Word choices have to be precisely perfect. Seven word sentences provide the best hook. Two word titles are my personal preference.

35 words and the introduction is complete. I can relook at my title and start saying what I really wanted to say.

I have always had a strong fascination with words – my mother, on the other hand, has an appetence for selcouth words. I like new words, but I’m more interested in holophrasis – the expression of complex ideas in single words.

In fact, one of my desires as a teenager was to compress a powerful sermon down to a simple collection of complex words. I’d simply get up there and say a single sentence. Silence would follow. I’d smile and walk slowly away from the pulpit.

Someone would gasp, realisation dawning. Then another, and another, until the entire congregation understood precisely what I’d meant. People would be amazed, and I’d become a famed preacher who’d write books and solve millennium problems in my ample spare time.

I think that’s the definition of “Dreaming.”

This dream, however, reflects something deeper. The desire is not simply to say less or be famous: the desire is for one thing to be more. And this is about more than just words.

Quite simply it is about quantity over quality.

My phone struggles to text. It takes forever to load and send messages. I get annoyed with it, but I ignore it, because it gives me eventual access to google, my emails and facebook. Sometimes it even makes phone calls.

On compromise, it becomes acceptable.

This compromise becomes the new norm. It begins to permeate through life. My life is measured by hours. My hours are worth dollars. These dollars are valued against the output of said hours. The more per dollar, the better.

This may sound similar to holophrasis – outputs per dollar to ideas per word – but I see it as simple verbosity – using as many extraneous words as possible in a sentence to describe the desired and intended point of said sentence.

So often, I aim for verbosity. 100 posts a year. 50 000 words per book. 8 books per year. 100 visits to the gym. Visit woodhill 12 times a year. Ice skate 12 times a year.

But what is the point if it’s all just shit? I could have 8 novels self-published by the end of the year. But the characters would be stifled. The story would be rough. The scenes would slip away.

There is no point in a 50 000 word novel if all 50 000 words are shit. There is no point in a 100 posts if they are all shit. If all I wanted to do was convert my words to dollars, I’d be ghost-writing erotic fiction – not spending 2 hours extracting words from a whisky-addled soul.

Verbosity doesn’t work. Lots happens, none of it relevant.  I’d rather little happen, all of it relevant. I’d rather be laconic.