The long and short of it

Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Have you ever noticed how writing long may be easier than writing short? Seems counter-intuitive, I know. You would think that if you had a short amount to write, you could get it done and move on.
Longer pieces often don't need that inner editor fussing about. There is a beginning, middle and end, which is missing from the short articles.
I wrote a short for a magazine and spent a lot of time crafting it--and re-crafting--because I had a word limit. I condensed a 15-page report into a handful of words.
I once tried out for a project to do such mental gymnastics with great literature. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to trim some of the plot twists and turns.
However, I enjoy exercising my brain in such a way. It forces me to think of other word choices. It trims out some of the laziness that I feel creeps into my writing sometimes.
Try dipping into a type of writing you don't normally do: poetry, SEO writing, song lyrics. Flex that part of your mind, even just a bit to keep your ideas fresh.
Your brain will thank you (and maybe a few editors, as well)!

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. She writes about motherhood at Coastal Carolina Moms and creativity at TheWriteElizabeth. She's cutting this short. Right. About. Now.


Joanne said...

Saying more with less is a great writing exercise. I've found in my own editing that removing a phrase, a sentence, absolutely strengthens the message. I guess it goes back to the rule to make every single word count, every word moving the story forward.

Tamm Walters said...

I recently started a project in this vein: taking a too-long novel I wrote two years ago and rewriting the chapters as a series of prose poems. I love the effect I achieve by running straight at a telling image and am surprised by what I find myself cutting to get there. Excellent post, Elizabeth--thanks!

Elizabeth King Humphrey said...

Thanks, Joanne and Tamm!

(I tried writing more, but I kept editing myself down to keep things brief...hope you understand!)


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