Say it in half the words

A quick tip to instantly improve any writing: Cut half the words from your current draft. Then, after you’re done, do it again.

There’s a common myth that Charles Dickens was paid by the word, which was supposedly the driving force behind the page count of his novels. While not true for Dickens (his novels were produced as serials and he was paid by installment), the pay-per-word model was common for periodicals in the 20th century and persists to this day.

Paying per word makes sense if your goal is to fill a print publication. But, it’s an anachronistic practice for the digital era, and it creates strong negative incentives for writers.

In the competition for attention, volume rarely creates value. Better you should focus on impact and moving people to action – in your own writing and the incentives you create for others.

“I apologize for such a long letter – I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

Mark Twain

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