“I have made this [letter] longer only because I have not had time to make it shorter.” —Blaise Pascal
It’s elegant to be both clear and brief.
It’s also hard.
Don’t aim for conciseness on a first draft.
Let yourself spill words all over.
As William Strunk wrote in The Elements of Style: “Omit needless words.”
Read your draft aloud and cut what sounds clunky.
Use the free Hemingway Editor app. Aim for grade 5 reading level — or less.
The app will help you cut adjectives and adverbs. And passive voice. And wiggle words, like “just.”
When you think all your words are needful, take a break.
Later, read them aloud again.
Keep only the strongest, and your writing will pack a punch.
PS – This blog scored grade 2. 😎
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.