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  • Writer's pictureEllen Gardner

Make your point fast

What if you know your goal is to write shorter and more succinctly? But somehow when the words hit the page, it never turns out that way.


After preaching for years that you need to write shorter words, shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs, I’ve realized that although that’s a noble goal, in practice, it’s difficult to do. Many of us compose in our heads and get trapped in an endless loop of “this word” or “that word”.


To address the problem, one solution is to write fast. Yes, imagine you’re talking to someone who’s in your orbit for a few quick seconds and you need to make a point. Don’t worry about form, just say it quickly and get out.


Consider this long sentence: “Over 2020/21, the focus for the health sector was infection prevention and control – and ensuring that we changed our practices and processes as needed to reduce and eliminate the chance of transmission of infection and keep our clients and families and staff and service providers as healthy and safe as possible.”


There are a lot of ‘ands’ in that sentence – one clue it’s too long.


What if you decide to write fast? “Infection rates were soaring in 2020-21, so we made dramatic changes to our practices. Our overriding goal was to keep our families, staff, and service providers safe and healthy.”


Same thoughts, shorter sentences. When we write fast, we don’t have time to think about including every word.


Next time you’re ready to write, don’t overthink it. Just throw the sentence out there and stop. The details can come later.

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