“I would have written you a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
I love this quote from Blaise Pascal, who was (as Encyclopaedia Britannica so eloquently puts it) a “French mathematician, physicist, religious philosopher, and master of prose.” It underscores the point that writing—especially writing concise and clear communications—is hard work. And it takes time.
Compare excellent writing (which we define as easy to consume and effective) to a single slice of cake. To obtain either, you must start with more than you will ultimately need. For example, you don’t bake a slice of cake, you bake a whole cake and then cut a slice that represents that whole.
In the same way, a piece of excellent writing starts with everything you might want it to include. Only then can you trim and arrange the information, editing it so that only the most important part—the true heart of the message—is offered to an audience.
Need I say more? I think not.
Celeste Tillson, owner of A&M Writing and Publishing, offers writing and editing services on a contract basis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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