Writing a blog post? Keep it brief

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bloggingKeep it brief.

In a post in July, we urged you to get to the point when you write a blog post. Today, we suggest you be succinct in making that point. Blog posts needn’t be long – 200 words are fine. More than 600, you’re getting windy. Show readers you respect their time.

Writing short isn’t easy. You won’t do it in the first draft. We often ramble as we sort our thoughts. You achieve brevity by editing yourself and rewriting.

It’s painful work, deleting our own words, sentences, paragraphs. Be ruthless.

As you decide which words are needless, you focus your point. You remove digressions.

There’s a saying in writing: Kill your darlings. A “darling” is a phrase you are overly fond of but that is leading you away from what you are trying to say.

Get over it. Kill it.

Remember that scene in “A River Runs Through It”? The boy writes a one-page essay for his father. His father reads it, hands it back and says, “Half as long.” The boy returns with a new draft. Same thing. Finally, after another draft, the father says, “Good, now throw it away.”

This is the best writing advice I’ve ever heard. Be tough on yourself.

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