Two beat style

I wrote a post about writing. It got quite a large response. Some people liked it. Some people hated it. Either way, there was a lot of back and forth chat about it.

One part of that chat was about writing style. As in, the tone and voice you take when you write something.

Peter from ink and switch shared their own style guide as part of the chat. It explains how to write in the classic ink and switch style. It was cool to see.


It got me thinking: “What would my own style guide look like if I wrote it down?”

The hard thing is that I tend to use a real mixture of styles and voices. Sometimes I’m simple, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m stupid, sometimes I’m not.

But I am quite careful about style and voice. I have a handful of styles that I slip into. Some are more concrete than others, but I keep coming back to the same ones. In fact, I’m using one right now!

Two beat style

The rules are simple: All words must have two syllab- I mean- All words must have two beats or less in them. Three beat words are not allowed. Or if it is, you better make it worth it. Save it up for a big word. Or even better, not at all.

I use this style in a lot of my films on youtube, like Nothing and Arrows. I really do sit there and cut out as many three beat words as I can. Any longer word is a direct choice.

But why

I think that this style is good for showing how to do things. I think it forces you to keep things simple. No fancy words creep in that the reader might not know. And it has a certain feeling to it. It kind of switches the mode of your brain. You can turn off the language part, and just hear the words. It sounds awkward and twisted, making a dreamlike effect. It sends you to sleep. It’s calm. It makes you relax. It’s weird, but it’s what I’ve seen.

And it’s a huge contrast from what you tend to get in papers, which use lots of big words and weird terms.

It also frees you from sounding smart. I sometimes challenge people to try it out when they’re trying to impress me with big words. I don’t give a fuck how clever you are. I just want to UNDERSTAND.

(three beat word used on purpose for effect)

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