Over time, try to write less, not more


And now we come to editing. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned about writing, ever, is how core editing is to the process of great writing.

The bottom line is this: Write less, not more. — Jeff Goins

Once you get more comfortable with just getting started and writing a rubbish first draft, you will find that at least as much of the writing process is in the editing, if not more:

It actually takes more work to write a short post. You may find you spend twice as much time editing as you do writing. (11)

Having someone else to look over your work can help immensely in this stage, as can reading your work aloud and letting it sit in-between edits.

Most importantly, you’ll need to learn to step back from the process of writing and put on your editor’s hat. View your draft as objectively as you can, while asking whether it makes a clear point and whether you’ve used the shortest, most simple words and sentences you can.

Kurt Vonnegut has an excellent rule we can all use when editing:

Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.

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