Close this search box.

Separate Drafting from Revising

One way to approach succinct writing

To write succinctly, try separating drafting from revising.
Don’t compose and edit your piece simultaneously.
Instead, write a draft without worrying about content and form.

Let ideas and sentences come to you.
Don’t judge them.
Just write them.
Keep letting them appear on the page no matter how disconnected or unnecessary they are.
Produce fluff.
You need to see that fluff in order to remove it.

Why worry?
You’re not going to publish this.

When you have nothing else to add, stop.

Your fluffy sheep is now ready for shearing.
Start revising.
Identify the essential and remove the rest.

How many words can you delete?
How many ideas can you discard?
Is this information relevant to the piece?
Your message is clear without that transition sentence. Cut the transition!

It’s a fun game to play.
Shear your sheep and make it pretty.
Then proudly show her succinctness to your reader.

(This is just one way to approach writing, and I could argue against it, too.)

Click on my glass of beer to sign up for Better Writers, my weekly newsletter for online writers who speak English as a second language. I share writing tips, insights, and resources to help you do one thing: become a better writer.