Typography is for the benefit of the reader. Not the writer.
Graphic designers have an advantage here. They work with text they didn’t write. So they can approach a typographic project as a special kind of reader—one whose job it is to create the visual component of the text so it reinforces the meaning.
This principle is more difficult when you’re a writer handling your own typography. Then you have to surmount the difference between your primary perspective as a writer and a simulated perspective as a reader.
Always be asking yourself: what does my reader want? Because your reader is quite different from you:
|Interest in topic||High||Low|
|Persuadable by other opinions||No||Yes|
|Cares about your happiness||Yes||No|
Unfortunately, professional writers sometimes imagine that the comparison looks like this:
|Attention span||Long||Whatever it takes|
|Interest in topic||High||Boundless|
|Persuadable by other opinions||No||Barely|
|Cares about your happiness||Yes||Of course|
The only reader who might match that description is your mother.
Typography has to be oriented to actual readers, not idealized ones. Writers can get attached to idealized readers because they’re easier to please. That’s no surprise—they don’t exist.
Don’t be lazy. Work hard to see your text as an actual reader will. You won’t get it perfectly right. But a rough approximation is better than none at all.