Many moons ago, I worked as a pay phone operator. And I learned a valuable lesson about exaggeration.
(What’s a pay phone operator? Let’s just say that real live humans were your Siri.)
Every day, I sat in a cubicle sea and wore a headset to answer calls that came through a desktop computer.
I was not allowed to talk to anyone but the people who called my pay phones, and I was only allowed a pencil and a few sheets of scrap paper.
The computer did nothing but answer calls. No email, no internet, not even a pleasant beach-scene screensaver.
So…yeah, it was super boring.
One day, my manager asked if anyone spoke French. They occasionally got calls from French speaking customers and needed someone who could direct them to a French language help line.
I lifted my hand. I had taken French for several years in school, but I had zero occasion to speak it. Rusty would have been a nice way of describing my fluency at that point.
But no one else was available, so I...
When I write magazine feature articles, I always—ALWAYS—write too much. During that first draft, I can’t help but write as much as I want. So, my articles start out too long, sometimes by up to 50% (yikes!).
On the opposite end, another writer I know ALWAYS writes way too little when she writes features. She ends up with an article that’s only 50% of what the word count SHOULD be. She has to go back and add more to what she wrote to meet the requirements.
We each have a style – mine is more detailed and maybe poetic, and hers is more factual and direct. Neither is wrong or right, but our styles do impact how hard we have to work (or not work) at being concise.
What’s your writing style? If you’re struggling to be concise, you might be more like me—there’s so MUCH you want to say!
I have a hack for you.
If you commonly read what you’ve written and have no idea what to cut because it all seems...
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