The glossy magazines are full of advice on how to slim-down, sex-up and find the secret to a better life.
There are also no-pill cures for ailments, you can melt away fat (sounds messy) and anti-age your mind (lobotomy maybe?). Wow. All of this, if you part with a few dollars and some heard-earned time to read about it.
Those claims focus on the problems, issues and pains we have – those things we want dissolved away from our days.
So what if we apply the same process to your writing? What do you want dissolved?
We’d all love to produce writing that people actually want…dare I say desire…to read.
Many say their biggest problem is being too long-winded. You start writing and just go on, and on, and on.
Readers don’t have the time to stick around.
Be short, sharp, and sizzling hot.
So, let’s put your writing on a diet. Slim it down to the bare essentials, so you can live a lighter, smarter, happier writing life! (Tongue-in-cheek there, but it may just save you time and pain with your next project).
We write too much
There are a few reasons:
1. You’re thinking too much about what you want to say.
Instead, think about what you’re reader is bothered about.
2. You may have been working on the project for a long time, and you want to share everything you’ve done.
Instead, just tell the real point and how it will affect me.
3. You may be scared about leaving out important details.
Don’t worry. It’s more important to build a rapport with me. I can ask if I want to know more – which can lead to a deeper relationship.
4. You are thinking as you write, starting in one direction and ending up in another.
Draft your work, stick to the topic and edit, ruthlessly.
5. Be honest. It’s easier to write something longer than shorter.
If you don’t think (about any of the previous four points), then you can just dive in, do it and get it over with. Less thinking, less courage, less hardship. Perfect world really. But what about your reader? It takes guts to leave stuff out. It takes time.
So what if you’re a waffler…does it hurt anyone?
No. It doesn’t. But it hurts the readability of your work.
Set some rules.
Instead of rambling, get strict with your word count.
Set a word limit and stick to it. Limits are generally arbitrary – unless you have space limitations such as those in print and press publications.
Here are some suggestions:
- Make recommendation in 100 words or less.
- Bullet point theory in 10 points.
- Summarise point of proposal in 6-12 words.
For longer documents try breaking sections down into specific word counts:
- Introduction – 100 words
- Sections 1-3 – 250 words each
- Conclusion – 100 words
This gives you a total of 950 words to convey the idea.
I gave you this one in 500.