If you live anywhere near the east coast of the United States my guess is that you’re feeling a bit of a “Sandy breeze” today. Yes, it’s windy out there – just like a bad piece of writing.
Whether he actually said it first or not, I don’t know, but Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) is rumored to have said “if I had more time, I’d have written less.”
He was right. Writing less is a lot harder than writing more. Saying something in the most concise fashion is an art – an art not well mastered by most fundraisers. Let’s face it; you usually favor the fundraiser who says more, not less. But let’s not stop there. The propensity for prolific prose goes to the heart of our educational experience (Yes, as a college instructor I share in this sin…) Remember when your teacher said “minimum of [put your number here] pages”? Well, if you couldn’t meet the minimum you’d vacuously embellish – as well as use a bigger font and tighter margins!
So ironic, isn’t it… while we were once favored when we wrote more words, today our readers demand less words. They don’t have time to read more than they absolutely must. According to Clemens, that means that it will take you more time to write so your donors can read less – but still get your message.
I think you get it. So I’ll stop here. There’s no use being windy in a hurricane.