At what reading level should one strive to write? As an educator, I was trained to keep everything at about sixth to eighth grade level. Otherwise, too many people will be unable to read with the desired level of comprehension. So does that mean I need to dumb down what I write? How do I feel about having to do that in order to attract a broad readership?
I love the English language. I love the sound of it, the feel of it on my tongue, the visual of individual letters as well as completed words as they pop onto the monitor of my PC. I love the cerebral rush when the language is spoken with authority. If I must restrict my writing to primarily words of two syllables or less, I feel like I’ve moved into the strata I call “The Ho-Hum of Blah Blah.”
But if I allow myself the joy of hammering away on all the bars of my English language glockenspiel, I might not only enjoy a healthy readership, but I might actually have fun writing. And if I can’t enjoy it, why bother?
How much am I willing to suffer for the sake of my writing? How much am I willing to sacrifice? To borrow lyrics from a golden oldie, am I willing to crawl on my lips through broken glass just to get published?
After giving that some thought, I’ve determined that life is too short to lose priceless time with family just to put my thoughts on paper. And it seems the epitome of arrogance to think my meanderings are so important to mankind that all else is expendable.
Perhaps it’s a matter of ambition. It’s possible that my gene that harbors the drive to get published is just too damned recessive. It’s possible. But it primarily seems a matter of priorities.
Recently, I learned that the Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Mann refused to interrupt his daily writing schedule even to attend the funeral of his son who, incidentally, killed himself. I don’t know the whole story, but that seems downright messed up. No doubt, Mr. Mann’s musings have provided grist for our rumination mill. But at the cost of his family?
End analysis: I love to write; I will continue to write; I will write daily, as I am able. But I will remember a basic tenet for living successfully – balance.
And now, I’m off to re-fill my bird feeder. It’s winter, and the little guys are counting on me.