“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”Mark Twain
Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story using only 6 words. He wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never used”. Awesome! He produced a complete work of fiction in six words, a story that is both compelling and evocative. Great writers know the importance of getting their point across by using an economy of words.
Now, granted Ernest Hemingway wrote for a different audience, but the premise is the same: say what you need to say in as few words as possible. People who use social media are not looking for the great American Novel, but are looking for information that is to the point and easy, as well as entertaining, to read.
As American author Mark Twain put it, “don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.” Good advice – for being clear, concise and to the point is the best route to take when writing for social media. If the writing is too excessive or showy it can distract and bore your audience; and bored readers quickly find other sources.
Why fill a page with information that you can convey in a sentence? Economy of words was a value that Twain advocated, and is still valued in writing today. The best writers can say a whole lot while using very little.
So, work on your vocabulary, choose your words carefully, eliminate unnecessary words and your writing will be more precise and ultimately more effective.
And remember always to be yourself. Relax and let the words flow in a way that comes easily and naturally. Develop your style and write with confidence. Write as if you are speaking to an old friend. And, as Kurt Vonnegut once advised, “Start as close to the end as possible”.
I love Kurt’s advice. As part of my requiresments for school, I had to write a script and prepare a podcast on social media. This is the script for my very first podcast, which I chose to do in vodcast form (it is allowed). Below is the link to the youTube presentation of the script. It’s a start…
Warning: I am a Southern Girl but never knew just how Southern until I heard myself recorded, but I believe you will be able to follow along…and you always have the above script.
View the vodcast on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6ZtyeUMt0
- On being concise… (while-you-were-sleeping.com)
- Need to write your website content? But no idea where to begin? (marketing.yell.com)
- Writing is a Muscle, Flex it (wordservewatercooler.com)
2 comments on “An Economy of Words ~ Dianne Wing”
You can indeed say a lot by writing only a little. Sadly, a lot of people stick to their guns and they confuse this with being simply vague, and to a point lazy.
Trimming and slimming my prose down was absolutely tough for me. I felt I wouldn’t be making myself clear enough if I wasn’t using everything I knew in my vocabulary.
It can be a challenge, but it can be done well. I like to write what I want then go back and slash! It usually results in better context.