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Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing
41 How-To Tips for Creators

II. Concise

It's far harder to write short than long.



Most people can’t produce a perfect draft on the first try. The process is usually to brain-barf your initial thoughts just to get them down on paper or device. Really effective writing is rewriting and revising (Pro Tip 40). It takes a long time to sharpen your piece to achieve a concise final product.


It is far harder to write short than long. Over the centuries, notables such as Blaise Pascal, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Voltaire, Bill Clinton, and Benjamin Franklin have been credited with quotes conveying the idea that concise composition takes time. Henry David Thoreau said it pretty well in a letter to a friend in 1857 about crafting fiction: “It will take a long while to make [the story] short.”


Writing tight (Pro Tip 13) respects your consumers by honoring their time (Pro Tip 26). In addition, it sharpens your message. And pruning unnecessary words (Pro Tip 13) makes your writing more persuasive, powerful, and punchy.


Take time to master the second element of effective writing as you create concise copy.
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