How to write less and say more

Today’s letter in the A-Z Challenge L.


Love Every Single Sentence


or Trash It!

How to write less & say more is not as easy as it sounds.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a talker. It’s been said that I can hold a conversation with a wall. I will admit that I’ve rarely met a person with whom I can’t engage in conversation.

However, one of the things I’ve learned is that my conversation skills don’t necessarily carry over on to the written page. See, how I rambled on and on when a few words would’ve worked just fine? Don’t roll your eyes at me. I’m not the only long-winded writer on the internet.

Now back to LESS.

6 things I’ve learned about Less is More.

  1. I still need to cut more flab in my writing.
  2. Brevity is my friend and Clarity my sister they keep me grounded.
  3. Waste words waste the reader’s time.
  4. Get to the point and quickly.
  5. Big words will not make me sound smart.
  6. Lead with active voice and cut passive.

How close to the bone can you cut before your writing falls apart?

Do you need to write less and say more?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Want to know more, click the links below.

Write Less, Say More: The Power of Brevity by Danny Rubin

Embracing Brevity: How to Write Less and Say More by MUSTAFA KHUNDMIRI

Saying It Short: A ‘Less Is More’ Guide to Effective Writing by Tom Hynes


18 thoughts on “How to write less and say more

  1. My husband say he is going to put a fence post out in the backyard so I can argue with it. I have a tendency to go on, but I try and keep my writing simple, because I think fancy words are good in certain spots, but if you have too many of them it just looks like you are showing off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Big words don’t make you sound smart, but sometimes they’re the right ones. (I could have used “appropriate.”) It depends on your audience, and whether or not you actually understand them. I write academic papers and the precise word is necessary, however, I hate academic papers stuffed with verbose pomposity too.

    And sometimes a word is simply delicious in the way it rolls off your tongue. Lugubrious. Luminescence. Labyrinthine. Perspicacious. Marinated. Let us never lose the poety in our souls in our haste to communicate efficiently.

    And yet, yes, we know now that today’s reader stops reading below the fold and we need to say it, quickly with a punch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would rather someone enjoy, and understand my words than derive pleasure from a delicious word I alone savored. JMO However, in academic papers I can see the need for trade jargon.


  3. Great post! I can totally relate. When I first started writing (for real), I was often critiqued as being too flowery and too verbose 🙂 Writing succinctly is a skill that needs to be honed. I’m still a little wordy at times in my writing but I’m forever learning and improving. But can you imagine if we were too succinct in conversation with an audience – would that work? Hmmm, I still like to talk and engage with an audience in a more ‘flowery’ way and have a good laugh inbetween 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brevity is even more important today, since instant gratification has become the norm in this social media ipad crazy world. Attention spans have shorted. Literary agents and publishers want novels that jump off the page immediately. Hollywood expects the same. Also agree with you about the use of big words. A writer has to get his message across not send someone scrambling for their dictionary.

    Liked by 1 person

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