Keeping It Simple

14 Apr


I’ve been told, more than once, that my writing is too simple. It has been called juvenile and childish, among other hurtful adjectives. When I first read such comments/reviews, I wanted to cry. I mean, who wouldn’t? Nobody wants to be called a writer who lacks skill in forming complex sentences that wows the audience with such advance vocabulary. I, for one, didn’t. But then I realised, simple isn’t bad, simple is good.

Many well-known writers are advocates of simple writing. Some famous writers have even been criticized for their simple writing. But they never let those comments stop them, and they continue to find success through their simple style.

Faulkner vs Hemmingway

So why do people complain about simple writing? I don’t know. Why do people complain about complex writing? Trust me, I know writers who’ve been told their writing is too complex, they need to tone it down. True story. The fact is, you can’t please everyone.

So let’s keep this simple. Let’s just write.

In reality, not everyone is going to like your writing, your story, and your book. There will be people who hate it and there’s nothing you can do to change their minds. The one thing you can do, for yourself, is to keep writing the way you want to write. Whether it be simple, complex, or in between, just write.

I’ve been told my simple style of writing makes my stories fast pace and exciting. I’ve also been told my simple style of writing makes my stories bland. It’s all a matter of opinion. At the end of the day, I’ll write how I want to write. I’ll keep it simple… just the way I like it. I’ll order medium-rare for my steak, because that’s the way I like it. I cannot stomach it raw, and I don’t like the texture of well-done, but if that’s the way you like your steak, then order it so. Don’t let people tell you how you should write. Every writer has a unique voice. Own up to yours.

You're not alone.

You’re not alone.

*Now, I’m not saying disregard good criticism. If there are comments out there that help you become a better writer, embrace it like a long lost friend. But if someone tells you to change your style, tell them to write their own book/blog.

I’ve decided to blog about this today because I’ve come across a lot of writers who question their work based on people’s comments – particularly in style. They’ve contemplated changing their style of writing just to fit into people’s preferences. I’ve been in those shoes myself. But now that I’ve kicked those shoes off, I want to encourage you to do the same.

At the end of the day, you’ll have your fans and you’ll have your non-fans (I’d use the term ‘haters’ but it seems too harsh). Don’t let your non-fans dictate how you should execute your passion. They won’t support you even if you change. So write… write however you want to write. Write for you and write for those who like your style. Write because you like writing and stop asking yourself if it’s too simple or too complex.

Keep it simple and just write.


Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Writing Journey


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34 responses to “Keeping It Simple

  1. anitablessing

    April 14, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Simple isn’t bad!!!! It’s your right and freedom!!!! 😍😘

  2. vela june

    April 14, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Great advice! I’ve been pondering about my own writing style and thought at first to change it. Just because I know ‘big words’ it doesn’t mean that using it is the best for me. This has just reassured that decision. Another thing is, I’m been asked to look over someone’s writing more times than I can count, and it always surprises them that I take into consideration their writing style. To me, you put a part of you in your writing. Trying to change it to please everyone or every rule in the book doesn’t reflect on you very much. Sure, like you said, take in good criticism, but also don’t lose yourself.

    By the way, I love how you write. I find it captivating and inspiring. 🙂

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      True! It’s not about sounding ‘clever’, it’s about sounding ‘you’.

      Thank you! I’m so flattered. Your statement made my day 😀

  3. K

    April 14, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    This is a reassuring post for writers who feel the urge to please everyone. Sometimes, like you said, you have to treat some criticism as your best friend. But other times you have to treat some criticism as just criticism. Nothing more.

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Yup. We have to learn to differentiate what helps us become better and what doesn’t. Forcing change will not help.

  4. Lolsy's Library

    April 14, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    You do you!

  5. thelonelyauthorblog

    April 14, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Simple guarantees your message is understood. Don’t listen to those critics, some people just need something to complain about.

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 14, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. And you’re right, some people just do.

  6. Curry On Blog

    April 15, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Criticism and others opinions are nothing less than a drop in a sea of thousands. You should write for yourself first and people who appreciate you the most :). Keep writing Jeyna 🙂

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Write for the ones that matter, right? I definitely will 🙂

      • Curry On Blog

        April 15, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        Yes 🙂 ! Best wishes to you..

  7. aoame

    April 15, 2016 at 7:07 am

    How rude of people!

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 15, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Everyone has an opinion, some just less tactful with theirs.

  8. agmoye

    April 15, 2016 at 8:29 am

    When I first started writing on the computer. I had a program to help me keep it simple called “Right Writer” Where it pointed out when you got more complex and the majority of the readers would not understand the words you wee using. Even though I don’t have the program any more.(I lost it when my first computer crashed) it helped by suggesting how to say the same thing in everyday language. I still tend to keep my writing simple to enable the majority of the readers to understand with ease on what I am saying. Good article!

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 15, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Like one of the previous commenters said, “Simple guarantees your message is understood.”

      Thank you for reading!

  9. Aarsh

    April 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Complexity leads to confusion. Nobody wants that. Very well written Jeyna!

  10. thomasjarnold

    April 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I admittedly do love some complex writing (and that first image has me really wanting to go back and read some Faulkner, love his stuff), but I also enjoy simple writing as well. What matters most isn’t simple or complex, its how well the particular writing technique is executed, and as you so excellently point out that in large part is a matter of both accepting and owning your own unique voice. From what I’ve read of your work you are excellent at conveying complex emotion and characterization through simple sentences, and that is a skill that anyone should view as enviable so be proud.

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks for swinging by, Thomas! That’s true, the execution is very important.

      Aw, you flatter me. I really don’t know about that, but thank you!

  11. That One Mom

    April 15, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I think, for myself, it’s important to remember that people not only have certain genres that they prefer to read, but also certain styles of writing. Some people dig–if you will–the complex, Jane Eyre literature, and they get more out of that, while others prefer “simpler” writing, out of which THEY tend to get more. So I believe strongly that it’s a matter of preference for the reader, not necessarily a criticism on the writer. (At least, this is what I tell myself, lol [I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy, btw])

    Great post!

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 15, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      I agree, every reader has a preference. As writers, we shouldn’t write to match a reader’s preference, but write to find our own readers.

      And thank you!

  12. Jaclyn Penn

    April 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Style seems to be a hard thing to pin down, especially when you’re the one writing. I have no idea how to begin describing my own style, but when I write without that worry in mind, everything feels right. And it’s okay that my writing has changed in taste, as well.

    I do love both the fancy and the simple styles, but it really comes down to the genre and the story. I could listen to Dickens all day, describing Lord of the Rings in his own way. I can barely retain interest with Doyle, nor the mysteries Holmes charges off to solve.

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 30, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      That’s true. And it’s all a matter of taste – I actually enjoy the mysteries of Holmes over Dickens’ tales. As long as there are people reading, we should keep on writing 🙂

  13. rheatethyss

    April 28, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I find your stories fast paced and really enjoyable and I think keeping it simple works great especially for the scary stories. (I still think about your story and clowns every time I have to go in the basement.

    So, this post is very reassuring for me, especially since I would like to write in English, but English is not my first language. Although I have a decent vocabulary, I am always afraid that my writing will be too simple and I’ll ruin any good idea. I am sure I won’t send anyone to their dictionary, but maybe it’s not the end of the world.

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 30, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you like my style 🙂 It’s comforting to know my writing isn’t ‘boring’ everyone.

      Keep on writing 🙂 You’ll soon create your own unique voice that comes from English not being your first language. And you’re right, it’s not the end of the world.

  14. imfullofemotions

    July 4, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Great! Keep going. Be positive.

  15. monkeyeverythingblog

    October 8, 2016 at 4:26 am

    Wow, this helped me so much. I’ve sometimes wondered about my own writing style and if people like it. But you are absolutely right! It doesn’t matter if people like it, it only matters if you enjoy writing it.
    Thanks for posting, and btw, I love your writing style!!!! ❤ 🙂

    • Jeyna Grace

      October 8, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Yup! At the end of the day, we write not for the approval of others but because we enjoy it.
      And thank you!


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