A writer’s poverty

As mediums of communications go, writers are at an obvious poverty.

Video creators are among the most affluent creators. Their repertoire isn’t limited to words, but extends into visuals, animation, body-language and voice. Each of those dimensions unlocks a rich tapestry for expression – special effects, camera angles, lighting, and scene pacing. A writer is limited to words scrawled in coloured ink.

Audio artists aren’t as rich, but still retain a massive edge over writers. Through audio, you can modify tone, volume and tempo. You can have the same four words, ‘that is a great idea’, mean four different things by emphasizing a different word each time. A writer has to make do with italics, bold and strikethroughs.

In a world with limited attention, writers have to contend with these mighty adversaries. They are forced to be frugal, improvise and make the best of their limitations. Despite these odds, writing shapes movies, videos and speeches in the form of written scripts. Every time we hear of a book that is better than its movie, we hear about a definitive victory for the writer.

As a writer, your craft’s poverty strips away everything that is peripheral and forces you to choose the right combination of words to communicate the essence of your idea. Navigating this constraint transforms a writer’s poverty into a superpower.

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