The Young Writer

A young writer, 23 years of age and with ambitions, asks an old writer for advice. The old writer looks at the young writer and says to him, “be concise.” The young writer responds…

“Be concise? But I’m too young to be concise! My success as a young writer depends on how original I am. I can’t stop myself from using many words to express my disdain for everything orderly and old. What I hear from you, Great Writer, is that I sacrifice originality for exactness. But what you don’t understand is what’s at stake. My future is at stake. My career is at stake. My reputation is at stake! I need to communicate something original, smart, witty. I need to show the world that I think deeply. I need people to remember me. I don’t care about precision and word choice because my writing is meant to destroy biases. Everyone remembers when their biases were destroyed by an original young writer like a kid stepping on an anthill. That’s me: I’m that kid stepping on the anthill. I’m the writer who will step on all the anthills in the world. It doesn’t matter how many words I use and how little I understand their meaning so long as I step on anthills. I need to show everyone that I’m not like the old writers. I’m not even like other young writers. Other young writers write like the old writers. But I’m different. I’ve got hot takes, nuanced takes, remember the anthills! I’m smart, witty, stylish! Style is the biggest weapon in my repertoire. I can’t help but write in my original style. Critics mock my original style but that’s because they don’t know good writing from bad writing…”

The young writer continues in this manner, not noticing that the old writer fell fast asleep somewhere near the beginning.

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