How to Write Short

What comes to mind when you hear the term “American culture”? Land of the free? Land of the brave? OR…land of excess? In this post, you will learn the importance of less is more, and how to write short. Let’s get started.

A Little Bit of Background

Excess has infiltrated many facets of our daily lives, including the written word. Long winded writers who lack a succinctness rarely get the reader engaged. The speed of living in our fast-paced society has challenged even the best and brightest. So how does one get the word out in these times of 280 characters and 10 seconds before a vision disappears?

How To Write Short

Roy Peter Clark, the author of “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times” writes about this conundrum. People want information immediately, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a real feeling that impacts behavior and it is what all writers must consider when writing a social post, email, or blog. So, brevity wins. However, the message must be crafted in a way that captures the attention and plays with it until the purpose of the message has been digested.  

Sifting through fluff or digging through archives of robust vocabulary that disguises the main point mutes the “call to action”. A disguised call to action loses the intended result – potentially, new business.

The current human condition requires information to be acquired in about the same amount of time it takes to snap a finger. The key to being a good writer is to write in a compelling way using the least amount of verbiage. It seems ridiculous, however, it is part art and part science. This doesn’t mean simplify your argument or leave out necessary details to cut down the word count. It means, quite literally, what this book is called: Write Short. This is a tough practice because writers love to add their own flair or pizazz and dress up their words with a unique style that’s innately their own. It is a delightfully, lovely feeling for the writer, but doesn’t always make for effective writing. Let’s look at some strategies.

The Strategies

Lead with a hook, something interesting to captivate the audience. Okay, now you have them with your incredibly interesting tidbit. Show them the meat of your piece, this is why they came.

Use periods. Gone are they days of commas and colons to connect seemingly related ideas and forming a beautiful yet unnecessary run-on sentence. Use periods. Don’t connect ideas that can stand perfectly fine on their own.

End with a bang. Want to leave a lasting impression? End with a strong conclusion that cohesively ties the intention of your piece or argument together. This seamless cohesion will leave your reader impressed. And the best part is, they will have a hunger for more, paired with a willingness to dig deeper potentially becoming a follower, buyer, or supporter.

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