Words of wisdom from my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Fear.
As much as I hated the mountains of red edits on my papers. As much as despised handing over quarters every time I used the word “like.” As much as I couldn’t see the method to his madness at the time, he is one of the only teachers that ever makes me wonder, “What’s he doing now?”
He was unrelenting in his effort to improve the writing style of a group of stubborn, babbling, and verbose 17 year olds. And while I resented the extra work then, I am indebted and grateful now. I truly believe concise writing is the number one key to great content.
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
– William Strunk, Jr, The Element of Style
Next time you write a note, a blog post, an article, or even a Tweet, ask yourself, “Does every word matter?” If not, maybe it’s time to get out that red pen.