Link to this page

The Lesson of Niche Lingo:
Keeping Your Writing Simple

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

If I don’t understand a language, I will (appear to) be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will (appear to) be a foreigner to me. (1 Corinthians 14:11, NLT)

A Word For Writers

How an orchestra rehearsal taught me a valuable lesson about keeping your writing simple.

The conductor glared at me. “Make sure the minim is held its full length – not the length of a crotchet,” he yelled. 

Keeping your writing simple: a lesson in niche lingo for Christian writers based on 1 Cor 14:11 from Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #devotionals

Huh? My blank stare communicated confusion. I spoke English, but I had no idea what the maestro was telling me.

I felt humiliated.

More than a dozen years in the classical music world gave me an easy familiarity with its niche lingo. But in this instance, I was an American playing in a British orchestra. The Brits, as I came to find out, used different musical terms than we do across the pond. Even in the close-knit world of classical music, the conductor’s words transformed me from an insider into an outsider. 

Fortunately, when my stand partner pointed to a note on the page, I discovered that a “minim” is the British term for what Americans call a half note and a “crotchet” is their word for what Americans call a quarter note.

Niche lingo can be a problem for me as a writer. At issue are not the terms themselves, but their isolating effect on the reader. She becomes a humiliated outsider. 

I don’t want to write that way. So by keeping my writing simple and eliminating specialty jargon, I can avoid that problem.

Over time, my British colleagues came to look affectionately at my Yankee language limitations. And I became adept at polite requests for clarification.

But I never forgot the lesson of niche lingo: use it only if you must, or you risk alienating your audience.

A Wise Word

Use lingo only if you must, or you risk alienating your audience.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

Keep me from alienating my readers. Show me how to keep my writing simple and accessible so they can understand my point.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


More Devotionals for Writers

The Fact Check: Truth Is a Powerful Writing Tool ...

Word Count: It's a Good Reason to Quite Babbling ...

One Word: Does Word Choice Make a Difference?

Two Words: Which of Them Should I Use?

Waste Not Your Words: One of the Most Effective Content Writing Tips ...

Writing for Free ...

More Devotionals for Writers on our Pinterest Board ...

Wise Words: Devotionals for Writers ...

Get more devotionals for writers delivered to your inbox each week.

Return from The Lesson of Niche Lingo to Nonprofit Copywriter home

Get Wise Words Now

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Powered by SBI! Learn more here.

Search This Site


Share This Page



Get Free Writing Tips

Stop Wasting Time!

Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"

XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
br>