Daily Tips & Tricks for Web Enthusiasts

Write Concisely

In a letter written in 1657, Blaise Pascal wrote the following:

I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.

Blaise knew that a first draft is often a long, rambling affair that can be improved by putting in the time to tighten things up. Concise copy is often better copy, but why is it better? There are several reasons, many of which lead back to a simple truth: Clear and concise writing is respectful of the reader.

Shorter copy is more likely to keep your reader’s attention and saves them time. As your word count decreases, the likelihood that those words will all be read and thoughtfully considered increases. And, with fewer words, there are less places for boredom and repetition to hide.

Indeed, this week’s JavaScript tip began as a nine paragraph draft that didn’t work nearly as well as the five paragraphs I ended up publishing. It took a fair bit of work to trim it down, but (as my wife/proofreader will attest) it was worth the effort.