On Being a “Writer” (part 5: Brevity is Bravery)

I left last post signing off with “say what you mean and mean what you say,” and I wanted to give that some space.


You know that high-school senior superlative, “Talks the most, says the least?” I’d honestly almost rather be called anything else. I don’t have my own yearbook picture handy, but I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t even close to cool. Since I went to the high-school equivalent of band camp, I don’t even think we did those. I wouldn’t have gotten anything (and if I did, it might not have been nice).

Anyhow, I believe strongly that brevity is bravery. It is letting your words stand tall and making each element count, white space included. So often I find that smart, articulate people hide excellent ideas behind a veil of verbose.

I have a recommendation: sack up. Well, that and fine-tune your lexicon. It’s not that we left school that we have to stop learning. There are beautiful words out there. Find them, master how to use them.

What is it that you really mean to say? Gun to your head, GO.

by E. B. White and William, Jr. Strunk, illustrated by Mria Kllman.

by E. B. White and William, Jr. Strunk, illustrated by Maira Kalman.

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