In writing, size matters. All writing is about giving as much information or entertainment to the reader without giving them a headache. Keeping your prose clean and your structure tight can go a long way to keep the reader’s attention.
Look at the formatting and content of almost every successful blog. They understand that their audience is looking for quick bites before their attention is whisked away by the next brightly colored, bullet-pointed list.
While blogging may not be the pinnacle of literary or informative writing, it does do one thing right: it keeps things short. Bloggers often write vertical posts that make the reader feel like they are sucking up a great deal in a short time, but good posts also contain huge gobs of information in their odd structure.
All writing can benefit from this mentality. Before this post gets too long, let’s get into why you should keep your writing as short as possible.
You won’t lose your reader
Like the student listening to the long-winded lecturer, everyone has their limits. Every time your reader tunes out something you’ve written, there is another chance they won’t enjoy your work. And then how will you become a millionaire?
Think about every sentence, every word. Is it necessary? Do you really need another adverb? Will your description of the flowers on the windowsill really change how much your readers love your story?
This is your work. This is a beautiful piece of your mind that other people should read. Don’t give them a reason not to.
You will make a stronger impact on your reader
Have you ever read a description of setting that went on for more than a paragraph? Do you remember any of it? Some paragraphs are not important. It can be hard to cut out some of your favorite sentences, but good writing is not about great lines; it is about great ideas. The shorter your work is, the more likely it is that readers will get the point and remember it. Unnecessary words cloud meaning.
You will get to the next exciting development faster
Most stories run through a simple arc, with the climax near the end. You want your reader to get more excited the more they read. By keeping your writing concise you allow them to move on to the next breathtaking moment even faster. People will call your work ‘a real page turner’ and people in business suits will fight over the rights to your next book (and you will become a millionaire).
You are the writer, and you are responsible for moving your reader through the story. While you may have all the time in the world to work on your flowery prose, your readers have a million other things clawing for their attention. So stop worrying about hitting a word count and go cut something down.