The Elegant Art of Writing Less

Write less. Then write even less.

By Leo Babauta

While I have a fondness for long, information-packed posts, I’m also a big fan of short posts.

Short posts might not pack as much information, and can be less useful … but they pack a stronger punch. Short posts are concise, easily digested, and most importantly in this digital age, they’re spread more easily.

Ask Seth Godin, the master of the short post. His ideas spread widely and rapidly, because he makes a point, and then gets out. He’s a blogging ninja.

Learn the Art of Writing Less, and have a bigger impact with your words. Writing economy is crucial when attention is at a premium. Here’s the Art in four simple steps:

1. Know your core message. State it in 4-5 words before writing. It’s probably your headline.

2. Write with the reader in mind. You can be extremely minimalist by writing something with just one or two words. But how useful is that to the reader? Be sure you’re meeting the reader’s needs, not just being brief.

3. Get to the point. Don’t waste time with a lengthy introduction — readers will skip it anyway. Get to the core message, right in the first sentence. Stay on that point, and finish it.

4. Edit ruthlessly. Go back over your writing, edit out needless ideas, sentences, words. Make sentences more compact. Then do it again, until you’re sure every word counts.

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About the author

Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta is the blogger behind the superblog, Zen Habits, which is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of life.

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