Paul Vosper: Technical Artist

The 250 Word Essay

You should be able to write a 250 word essay on just about anything. It's short enough so that a general understanding of the topic will suffice, provided you have a point to make and sufficient writing skills to win over your audience. The value is that it can be written in under an hour and read in only a few minutes, making it ideal for developing larger projects or explaining some part of a smaller one.

My job constantly requires that I do just this: win over an audience using a mode of communication that appeals to and can be consumed by humans with harsh constraints on their attention. It has to contain enough information to be acted upon but not so much as to alienate. While I often know more about the context, the audience will know more about the details - and they are the ones I'm trying to convince to do work that I do not have the time or expertise to do. Often I have no authority to compel them, so my best strategy is to convince.

The 250 word essay is a perfect written vehicle to inform and persuade. It can be an elevator pitch or an open invitation, an impassioned plea or a harsh demand, an insightful description or a biting question. All you need is context, intention and the practice of writing ten thousand convincing words - 250 at a time. Like this.

Right? Right.