Remove, reduce, and don’t recycle. – Tip #5

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”

Blaise Pascal

We often repeat to clarify when we had it the first time. Don’t recycle old points just because we are not sure we got the point across. (A perfect example being the last two sentences, they both made the same point so only one was needed.)

If your point needs to be expanded upon to get everyone on the same page, say as much. This allows you more advanced readers to drive ahead to the next point.

In short, say it once and say it right.

This doesn’t mean if you have a lot of points to make you shouldn’t make them all, some arguments need more support than others ~ just make those points brief.

A practical way to accomplish this is to (1) write as you normally would – (2) take a step away from your work for at least 24 hours (as long as possible) (3) revise with the goal of reducing 20% of your words, 10% of your sentences, and any other fat gristle that doesn’t gives substance or good taste to your work. This is what Stephen King calls, “killing your darlings”, and it’s what’s best for you and your work.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *