In the Great Big Bucket of Tips for Better Writing, perhaps no advice occupies more space than that stuffed under the heading of “Brevity.” Take your pick: Shakespeare, Pascal, Emerson, Twain, Strunk & White. They’ve all rung in on the value of staying succinct.
The most memorable thoughts on this topic I ever received with my own ears came from award winning sports and film writer Ray Didinger. Quoting one of his former editors in the newspaper business, Ray advised, “Keep it light, keep it tight, keep it bright, and get it right.” Simple, concise, and comprehensive, the suggestion has remained with me — even when my work has not reflected it.
Though 140-character limits and the spread of text-ese continue to truncate our communication, when they surface, new good words on the topic of keeping it brief will always be worth a look. Here’s some from Danny Heitman in this week’s New York Times Opinionator. Enjoy.