The Importance of Creating Curiosity

A writer's main goal is clear communication. Even if you have the most excellent point in the world, if you can't communicate it clearly, no one will understand it. Writers will intentionally leave some things bare, so that it can be clearly understood the first time, and strikes up a healthy desire to do further research. Belaboring a point doesn't provoke deep interest with the average uninterested target.

Promotional writing is a good example of this. An advertisement is not supposed to be a long explanation of every facet and value of a product. The potential buyer doesn't want to know everything about the product in the 'information collection' phase. One of the most enticing pieces of product advertisement for the consumer is the option to do his or her own research. An advertisement is simply the enticement to learn more, the invitation to be curious.

If you bore your audience with details, their curiosity has nothing to latch onto. Over-explanation is the death of wonder, and the birth of boredom. And a bored audience doesn't buy your project (or support your kickstarter, or subscribe to your magazine), they look for something else that better entertains them (or interests them, or validates them, or just isn't boring).

It isn't always easy to write clearly and provide adequate information while still provoking interest and curiosity, but if writing weren't a challenge, there would be no satisfaction in the victory of success.

Jim Beam—Part 2

See yesterday to understand today. ... People are usually partial to their own. Therefore, in asserting superiority or quality, it's wisest to start from the bottom, and let other people make the discovery that what you have is great. This is an aspect of humility. It's not self-degrading, or sloppy; it quietly recognizes quality, and lets everyone come alongside at his own chosen pace. And while you pay attention to other people, and don't aggrandize ourself, soon they'll be more willing to listen to what you have to say in return.

What does this have to do with writing? In writing, there are choices: You can write with little or no opinion or feeling, keeping your offensive line so far back it's almost invisible. You can write with extreme opinion, guns blazing before you wake up in the morning, and long after you've gone to sleep at night.

There is a middle ground; one that embraces the value of having opinions, without making them paramount or prisoner. Blunt, badgering dogmatism that's not backed up well rarely convinces anyone—then, neither does lackadaisical laissez-faire. Have good reasons for your opinions (awards, global recognition, multiple experiences and certifications), but be kind about them. Don't pin people to the wall until they agree with you, and if you don't agree or care about something, don't malign those who do. People will listen and endure those who are well-educated geniuses, authorities, and wealthy, even if they are belligerent, malicious, and despicable; but people will respect someone who is kind.

Bolstering your image with sarcasm, dogmatism, and pedantry doesn't work in the long run. Not only do you lose respect (if you even had it to begin with), you lose the possibility of mutual care and relationship (not necessary in many occupations, but always nice). Respect, you can live without; lots of people do. It's a lot harder to live without friends.

Write with humility, earn yourself respect. Don't make claims that aren't supported—have reasons for what you say. And next time you read (hear) someone claiming that "My ______ is the best," think about Jim Beam and his award and smile silently, because you know that just saying it doesn't make it true, but you don't have to fight it.

*Note: there is a difference between opinion and belief.


As a self-published author, ideas for marketing and advertising are always welcome. Self-marketing is a struggle; networking is hard in a small circle. Continuing the effort to publicize, I stumbled across this page. The ideas are fresh, creative, and intriguing—exactly what I want my advertising work to look like. As the contest to promote continues, I am reminded continually of how key consistency is. It's about doing, doing, and re-doing something. We're creatures of habit; finally, after multiple repetitions (seeing the same add four dozen times), we may remember it.

Don't lose heart in your marketing and advertising. The struggle is real, but it is worth it. At least, that's what they tell me.