Sean Knight

Why I Swear in My Writing

A teddybear wears a t-shirt that says "fuck off"

Hint: it has everything to do with human attention and memory

I write about boring topics. Deep, important, powerful for making sense of the world…sure. But when you are moving through the basics and learning terminology it’s dull as fuck. 

I strongly believe that if I write the same way I would explain something to someone in a bar, it’s going to be more digestible, more stimulating, and more memorable. I believe this because it works for me and my depressed/anxious/ADHD brain. Trust me, with a combination like that, there are a lot of thoughts and feelings pulling you away from whatever content you are trying to force into your head. And as silly as it seems, a well-placed “fuck” really helps get the signal through the noise.

If you’ve read “Moonwalking with Einstein” you know what competitive memory champions know: the human brain is perverted and weird.

It’s easier to remember something if it was surprising, sexual, dirty, strange, or violent. And if the goal really is to learn, understand, and remember, then I would rather achieve that goal than cling to some outdated puritanical need to write articles and blog posts as dry as that old withered lemon in the back of your refrigerator—also gross, clean your fridge dude.

So this is my appeal to you to do the same. Give up on dry writing. Your writing should be wet.

Your writing should be as wet as a giant burrito covered in enchilada sauce, as wet as Tupperware in the dishwasher, as wet as…Well, I’m sure you can think of a third thing.

And if you did, that’s good. Keep doing that. Let your mind go to weird, sexual, violent places in your writing and put that in your metaphors. People will remember them better and frankly, you’ll enjoy writing a lot more too.

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