Push Your Limits, Do The Impossible
Everyone wants to write more.
What would happen if you wrote less?
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One of the top things I had to ask in the Pas de Deux entries. To cut them down. Lots of unnecessary words that didn’t really add to the point of the essay. (This is also a big problem I have – I love words!)
I have the same problem. Sometimes it’s best just to say what you mean & leave it at that.
Good point, Joel. Sometimes I sit down to journal write, hoping for clarity, and end up in a bigger quagmire than I had beforehand. I’m learning to discern when I should write and when I should just go for a walk or something
I think writing just to write can end up being a trap sometimes. You feel accomplished by writing a lot, even if you could accomplish the same thing in a lot fewer words.
My first thought was that the quality of my writing would go down (assuming that the more I write, the better I am at it).
I also think my happiness would decrease if I wrote less, in general. If you just mean making any writing shorter, I think that can be a good idea, but personally I think it’s better to write all I have to say then edit it down after.
I think writing frequency is a good discipline to have (especially if it makes you happy). It’s when we get caught up in word counts and page lengths that I think we need to focus more on our message more than the sheer volume of words
I’ve come to look at writing less as a discipline. It forces me to think about what it is I want to say, then evaluate every word. It’s difficult, but it’s wonderful to discover the beauty of economy!
Also, I love to read Ernest Hemingway for that very reason. He’s a master of language because he always chooses precisely the correct word. Great thoughts, Joel! Love ya man!
The web lets us write as much as we want, so often we do, even when we don’t have to. Thanks for stopping by Jason
Great idea. Cut out the fat.
100% lean blog post.
Ha! Love this post brother!! I think often times, people find themselves writing more to keep the interest or rules outside the actual creative process of just writing when it’s “right”… “Write when it’s right” could be the quote on this one!
Rock on brother…
Good to see you’re still alive Patrick! How’s the walk coming?
Had to take a hiatus for a bit… Still have to put up the whole story. But yes, alive and well brother!
Very good to know. Let me know if you meet up with Nate! (He’s starting his walk tomorrow)
I had that conflict with myself in January. I did NaBloPoMo and had the stress of writing a post everyday. It wasn’t fun anymore and I realized quickly that by writing in my spare time, I was taking away from actual time I could be DOING! I’m back to writing only 2-3 times a week.
Now I need to stop checking/commenting on other people’s blogs so much!
Excellent idea, although you should probably keep commenting here (but I might be biased…).
Do you mean “write less junk”?
I think I mean “write exactly what’s necessary”. Leave out the stuff that’s not needed.
Jesus you carry on, Joel.
Sorry, I just don’t have the attention span for your inane rambling.
I’ll try to keep things short .
As a professional rambler, this post offends me.
Whatever happened to, “The journey is more important than the destination”?
Sometimes, excess is better than minimalism. If you’re great at writing a clean, razor-sharp sentence, then you should adopt it as your style, but I’ll be damned if you tell the Thomas Pynchons, the Marcel Prousts, and the James Joyces of the world that writing “clean” is the way to go.
Bottom line: your style is your style. Hone it, make it your own, and stand out. Becoming a Hemingway clone DOESN’T make you stand out when everyone else is trying to become one…
(note: this was kind of tongue-in-cheek, but as a man who uses twice as many commas as periods in his writing, my main point remains the same)
Truth. Write what you feel like, but don’t feel like writing more because you’re “supposed to.” Write that way because it’s “you.” Once again Brett, we simultaneously disagree & agree .
I agree with your caution, Brett, against becoming a clone of anyone. I also acknowledge the appropriateness of differing styles for differing audiences. I’m just not sure that I would go so far as saying that James Joyce wasn’t “clean.” He was verbose, but I wouldn’t say he was excessive in his language. The reason Joyce is an enduring author is precisely because of the effect he was able to create… using lots and lots of words.
I would (respectfully) contend, however, that most people aren’t James Joyce, and for most writers, the process of deconstruction is a valuable one. Vomit on the page to begin with if you must, but then take away all that’s not essential. Once you’ve arrived at the root message or concept or whatever, then you can layer on top of that, but then you’re doing it purposefully and skillfully, masterfully. Like Joyce.
I’m also aware of the irony that is my droning on about verbal simplicity. That’s how I roll.
I’m secretly enjoying that the comments are significantly longer than my actual posts.
BIT Readers = Awesome
Amen, brotha . . .
Just discovered you via Tess at The Bold Life. Glad it’s not going to take hours to keep up with your posts. Less writing = more play.
I like to keep the barrier to entry low . Thanks for stopping by Ande. Hope you stick around!
I think if you typically “write more” then sometimes you’ll find your audience likes when you write less with the occasional short post. In brevity we can find so much impact and wisdom. Think of all the inspirational and motivational quotes people churn out all day. Less is more there.
Plus, the tighter you can keep your writing around your topic and cut out the fluff, the more value you deliver to the reader (while showing respect for their time).
Thanks for your thoughts Jon. I tend to agree.
you’d have to be terribly strategic about the way you wrote your sentences. So much meaning would be held in every word.
Which is powerful, of course. Raymond Carver is the master at this.
I’m a fan of strategy. Write less. Mean more.
I see the value in what you are saying. I tend to write quite a bit, then edit it down like Wolverine in a berserker rage. I had written a 1,000 word post because I thought it just “had to be deep”. When I was done editing, it was under 500 words and much better. Write less and write on!
Thanks Jermaine. When you sit down & start going through an edit, it’s amazing how much you can leave out that’s “not essential.”
On a side note: how good of an editor is Wolverine?
What up Joel. I am checking out your blog for the first time today. I heard about ya through Blogcastfm.
Nice stuff man. I love the content. I think that as far as this post goes about writing less, that you need to say what you NEED to say. Nothing more or less. Often we say way to much.
Look forward to chatting with you bro.
Take er easy,
Thanks for stopping by Brandon! Love BlogcastFM.
“Say what you need to say.” Well said. Should be a song about it
Hmm, post less, or make each post shorter? I like to post 600-900 words. Seems like the sweet spot for my style, though I have a few monst 5,000 word posts!
Really enjoying your site Joel, keep it up man.
Make each post as long as it needs to be. Thanks for the encouragement David!
Not sure how I feel about this. I can be excessively verbose sometimes, and I do edit and weed out some stuff after the fact, but my “style” (if it can be called that) seems to lean towards more words. I know, it’s not very minimalist, eh? It’s very easy for me to write an 800-word post that doesn’t seem (to me at least) redundant. I do enjoy reading short posts, but sometimes I’m left wanting more. I’m an avid reader, so I love words; they make me happy. As a blogger, I struggle with conveying my thoughts in as little words as possible, but I want the full meaning to shine through. Like Brett, I guess I’m a professional rambler. But you’ve made me rethink my style, so that’s a good thing. Thanks!
Thanks for this Joel. Ive been meditating on the same thing. All the signs lead me to this.
Glad it helped!
Goal for month. 1,000 word cap on posts. Last post: 2,200 words. Egads!
Write as much as is needed. Northing more. Good luck Tanja
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