Witless Brevity

“Be brief,” he said.

My daughter takes this advice to heart:

Short, concise sentences. Short, concise sentences. This has to become my mantra for when I write papers.

Oh, how I love conciseness. Yet, my emails often go quite long, then on and on. As a young writer, I thirsted for brevity. Samuel Johnson broke my heart first…you have no idea how many sentences I struck out for that fat old English dude:

‘Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.'”Boswell: Life of Johnson

Later, Ernest Hemingway’s approach engaged me, though I hated his stories…and when I found out he’d committed suicide, well, no thanks! Older, perhaps wiser, I take advice from whomever will give it. Copyblogger shares Hemingway’s advice in this way:

1. Use short sentences.
2. Use short first paragraphs.
3. Use vigorous English.
4. Be positive, not negative.

In mid-conversation, my Dad would say, “Ask not for whom the bells toll…” and then smile. The quote smacked me between the eyes when I first saw Hemingway’s book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, in high school. Of course, I picked it up. It ended up a classical regret…a book unread.

Could we write more blog entries following Hemingway’s rules, as outlined by Copyblogger?

Why not?

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Samuel Johnson


Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-3445626-5’]); _gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘mguhlin.org’]); _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: