Their mileage doesn’t matter.

Earlier today, I read an online article that wastes two entire paragraphs with two separate “your mileage may vary” disclaimers in which the author tells readers it’s OK if they disagree with the points she’s about to lay out and she hopes she’s not insulting anyone’s fandom.

It was otherwise a solid article, well-written, sharp but never condescending, full of smart assertions. But those disclaimers. Oh, those disclaimers.

This is a good time to remind writers young and old: “Your mileage may vary” is completely unnecessary.

The very existence of such disclaimers undercuts your argument. It suggests you don’t have full faith in your words, not really. It suggests you have a vague notion of a fleeting idea of an opinion, and you’d like to mention it in a whisper if that’s OK with everybody. You don’t need to write that, and we don’t need to read it.

So drop the wishy-washy. Stand by your position and trust your audience to be smart enough to handle it. Show us you have confidence in your point of view.

Your writing will be stronger for it. More authoritative. Less apologetic. Better.

copyright 2015 David Cornelius all rights reserved


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