Have you ever shared a room at night with a mosquito?
Tiny things can ruin what should be a straightforward experience. Don’t deal with the mosquito, and you’re in for a bad night’s sleep at best. Leave a spelling mistake on your web site because it seems insignificant to you – and it’s your customers who will be complaining and not coming back.
Writing great copy involves not only choosing the right words, but also caring how those words appear. Font choice and size, line length, punctuation, paragraph length – all these are part of the readers’ experience of your message.
Many of these decisions are subjective. How much space to leave between sentences, for example: surely it is up to the author to decide what is most fitting?
Yes, and no.
At Cambridge University one professor asked us regularly for 100 word summaries instead of the usual long essays. This appealed to our resourceful sides while, more importantly, going half way to giving us a skill actually useful in the real world: precis.
The ability to summarise an argument in as few words as possible forces you to understand the material in the first place so that you can make it clear to your audience. Who might actually read it for once.