Less is More

Few wordsVerbosity may win elections and sell books but it just doesn’t work on the internet so I have to find ways to make my inclination toward long explanations and descriptions sit down and shut up when I’m blogging, sharing on Facebook, sending emails and especially on Twitter.

I was reading another blog this morning about a subject that interest me but found I suddenly shut down after about 500 words.  Like most people who are reading things on their computers or phones I want it quick and concise.  I don’t want several subjects in one article.

As a news journalist I learned some tricks about writing.  The upside down triangle was the most important.  You have to answer the “who, what, where, when, why and how” in the first paragraph.  Then expand on the most important things first leaving the least to last.  This is done in the news industry because an editor may have an ad to place in the paper which is far more important than your article so the last two paragraphs have to be cut off.

Writing that way on the internet is not quite so easy.  There is a much more familiar and personal approach to most internet medium but some of the principal can be used.

Twitter makes it easy.  Go over the character count and red numbers appear.  You have to learn to be concise.  Facebook is more generous although using short introductions and keeping it simple gets far more attention than long stories.

Emails which have multiple subjects are dangerous.  People often read the first few lines even of a long email.  Often points get missed because they were somewhere in a long body of writing and were skimmed over because they didn’t relate to the subject line.  If there are multiple subjects to address it is likely best to send separate emails for each or at least make headings and points so it’s easier to read.

In a blog there is certainly more room for expansion of a thought and it is encouraged but I think it is important to keep the thoughts limited.  For example if I am writing about my school days back in the 50’s and sixties there are many topics which could spring up.  The friends, recess and long lunches, using pens, different subjects that we took, boy and girl doors in the school and so on.  While all of it is provides wonderful fodder for writing it is likely most likely to be read if I keep to one topic.  Perhaps the “girl and boy” doors would be good one.

If my article is taking off in many directions, I need to pare back my thoughts and redefine the parameters so it will be readable.

I am not sure what the psychology is about the reading on the internet but I know my attention does not stay on an article which floats over the 500 word mark very well and so I  will cut it off here.


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (www.riverofhopeenterprises.com), I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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One Response to Less is More

  1. Anand says:

    Correct. (I’m using one word instead of many!)

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