Writer's Workshop: Writing with Brevity and Precision
brev•i•ty concise and exact use of words in writing or speech.
pre•ci•sion the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate.
Although some may think that being long-winded, superfluous, and stringing a bunch of fluffy sentences makes them sound smart, I believe the true test of intelligence is being able to get your point(s) across in a clear manner. Furthermore, many college, law school, and graduate school assignments and admissions essays have very small word counts that can leave you feeling like you have so much to say, but not enough space to say it. In this week’s vlog I gave pointers on how to make your writing more precise, concise, and accurate. (See video above, or use this link.) To sum it up:
1) First, write your rough draft freely. Let your ideas flow unencumbered by grammatical rules, correct sentence structure, and the pressure to sound smart.
2) Review for redundancy. Avoid saying the same thing twice. Even if you say it in a different way, don’t say the same thing again. (Did you catch that? ;-)
3) Say it shorter. Also, review your essay for phrases or sentences that could be made shorter by:
*omitting a word or two (or three or four), or
*replacing a group of words with one, “heavy” (i.e. descriptive) word.