While editing or workshopping the writing of my peers and classmates, I find myself invariably leaving the same comment: “Your piece is well-written, but could benefit from some streamlining of language.” Right about now, you might be asking what this means. Well, this sentence is my own personal way of saying, “why say this in twelve words, when it can be said in seven?” or “why use a word with nine characters, five syllables, and a hyphen in the middle, when a four-letter word could suffice?”
This advice is heard often as a writer, from teachers, from articles on writing, in famous quotes from writers who are famous themselves… and if I’ve workshopped any of your writing, you’ve probably heard it from me. Nevertheless, I often find myself using these lengthy words and complex sentence structures that I advise my peers to avoid.
My new goal in writing: to practice what I preach. So if any of you catches me writing something endlessly long and convoluted, please remind me to streamline.