Monday, January 14, 2013

Taking Long to Write Short

Ms. Madeline Drexler, an award winning author and editor at the Harvard Public Health Review and a Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism writes to me to explain the art of effective writing. The following is how she explains it to me:

--- “Shorter is better aesthetically, as well. The text will be more dynamic, it will move more swiftly. It actually takes more time to write sharp and pithy prose - rewriting and rewriting - but the final product is stronger and more artful.

The literary quote that has been ascribed to Samuel Johnson, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and others goes like this:

Forgive me for writing such a long letter. I didn't have time to be brief."

How true! The best way to hold the attention of your readers and to ensure that they have the patience to read through your writing to its end, is to keep your writing precise and as short as you can make it. Long-winding writings tend to lose readers mid way.


  1. Truly said la. Brevity is the soul of wit:) I wish if i could ever write short. But you score very good on that part. Keep updating. warm regards:)

  2. Yeah, am sure it taks some talent to be brief and to the point and at the same time for the writing to be dynamic. The shortest sentence in history or rather the Bible? Jesus wept. It's amazing how sometimes one has to labour to come up with a succinct paragraph. You doin good thought :-)