In school, I learned that the most important metric in writing is the number of pages. In university, this knowledge was enhanced, and I got introduced to the word count; my papers had to be between 3,000 and 3,500 words, my Bachelor’s dissertation at least 9,000 words, and to finish my Master’s degree, I had to write 20,000 words. In Ulysses, the text editor I use today, the word count is just one click away (currently at 82), and I can set daily goals on how much I want to write. When I publish something to my blog, you see the time it will take to read my article (anything under 3 minutes doesn’t even seem worth posting).
Since I started writing, everything is focused on the quantitative number of words I am producing and not their quality. When I picked up “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser, I realised that the true art of writing is the ability to tell my story with as few words as possible. Dragging out my text (the art I mastered during my education) is boring and wastes everyone’s time. From the first line on, the reader should be captivated by information or a story.
From now on, I will try (and fail) to only write what is necessary while still telling my story.
(But won’t the story lose its character when I shorten it?)
I think it won’t. On the contrary, a story is more captivating when I don’t have to read through long passages of useless information or unnecessary long sentence. The only thing I am interested in is the actual story and not the filling around it.
And now, because I said what I wanted to say, this article is over, and I won’t drag out the end.
(Except for mentioning my Newsletter, which, of course, will only contain the highest quality of written text).