Here’s something to think about when you sit down to respond to emails or string words together for any reason. Good writing is not about quantity. At least it shouldn’t be. Collecting 100,000 words, in the grand scheme of things, is the easy part of writing a novel. Pruning the raw words into a finished product is the tough part, especially since we sometimes consider our words sacred. They’re not. Cutting a blog post from 500 to 300 words can be excruciating but worthwhile, and emails can be far more effective if you spend more time cutting the words down to the ones that move the message forward. But it is much harder to cut than to paste.
So I like to view the process in reverse, a perspective that treats writing like chainsaw art, only you have to build the log before you crank the chainsaw. From this perspective, the work really begins after most folks think you’re finished, once you’ve got some raw material to work with. Fearless revision should then divide your writing from the words that do it no favors. If it doesn’t move the story or message along, cut it, no matter how sacred. Revel in the sawdust!
The rule applies to everything you write. If the words are not working for you, they are working against you. Be ruthless with the red pen or the delete key. Your audience will thank you, perhaps in a well-wrought note.
Exit Here, Then Write
That’s it for the Word Truck this time. I hope the driving tip helps you with your next writing challenge. If it does, drop me a note. And thanks for sharing the road with us.