Channel Your Inner Hemingway: Learn to Edit Ruthlessly
An old college professor once told me a story about Hemingway. While, yes, Hemingway was a fabulous writer, what most people don’t realize was that Hemingway was a ruthless editor. Every word, sentence, and paragraph was worked and reworked to create the compelling tomes we now know as quintessentially his.
For example, Hemingway is often credited with the pithy story, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never worn.” Need we say any more?
In other words, even a great writer like Hemingway knew to make every word count, cut away the chaff, leaving the most critical elements to move the tale along.
Be Willing to Cut Even Your Great Work
Business writing is no different.
In fact, some might say it’s even more important today – given the volume of email and content published on a daily basis -- to cut the chaff and leave not one more word than necessary to communicate your ideas.
A while ago, Microsoft made big news when their research showed that the average attention span has shrunk to about eight seconds… about that of a goldfish’s. The news sent marketers, business writers and communicators scurrying, leaving them to wonder “how in the world will we get our messages across in just 8 seconds!”
But new research challenges this Microsoft research wisdom. Is it that our attention spans are actually getting shorter? Prezi research studies found that attention spans aren’t shortening – they’re evolving.