Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Six Months of Small Words: Why You Should Write Shorter

It's been six months now since my declaration to write only 1000-word posts. I have succeeded (except for 2) and what's more, I've gotten better at it.

I guess that shouldn't surprise me; whenever you practice something you tend to improve. But I thought long thought processes were just me. I thought the art of distilling ideas down to the barest minimum and straining off the extra--even the good extra--was something I just wasn't born with.

But nearly half of my posts these days are actually under 600 words. And I know why.

There's a certain way of thinking that tackles an issue from every side. It circles the walls of the city and surveys every weakness. It plays devil's advocate against itself and tries to understand the mind of its enemy.

That's the way I think. That's why I end up arguing with my husband even when I agree with him; I am, I suppose, unconsciously trying to strengthen his position by fighting him. Sigh. Yeah, learning to not do that.

When you want to write something, you don't have to necessarily tackle all the inroads. Especially in a blog, which isn't meant to be comprehensive, and which will generally be read by informed and educated people. Bloggers don't have to spell everything out for you because you'll think about it anyways.

Writing short blog posts has taught me how to focus on one point and not even think about all the others. It has forced me to communicate linearly rather than web-ly. And it has taught me to believe more in my readers.

I know many bloggers who like to ramble on. But in our fast-paced world, few people have time to read that. There's a place for long, well-thought-out dissertations: that place is in a book.

If you have a point, make it. Use one illustration. Then you're done. Your readers are smart enough; they don't need three stories to understand, and they don't need all five counterpoints and arguments to be persuaded.

A blog is like a seed factory. You seed people's minds and they go think of it on their own. I'm not telling you how to think; I'm giving you ideas on what to think about.

What type of plant will grow from this one, I wonder?


Word count: 385.