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“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal. Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?

Writing with brevity is a skill to be cultivated. It is not achieved without repetitive editing, and it appears Mr. Pascal had run out of time to re-craft his letter.

While trying to hone my writing skills I have found that editing is essential. I even edit my emails for typos, repetition, and word selection. Almost nothing one writes could not be better with more editing. Cutting well-chosen adjectives and adverbs from one’s writing is almost like performing surgery without an anesthetic. They are YOUR words, your writing, and there’s almost a possessiveness that makes you loath to cut what has been so painstakingly written.

With practice over the years I have learned to not take editing personally. It is simply a step in writing, and it usually makes the piece better. I am in a children’s writing critique group, and it is easier when I am stuck to send a piece of writing to one or all of the members so they can do the cutting for me. It often requires a dispassionate reading for the necessary work to be done. Surprisingly (or not), my critics have never made a piece worse for their deletions and suggestions.

Writing is not an act, it is a process. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to assess your own work without attachment.

Mr. Pascal, theologian, philosopher, mathematician, physicist, scientist (1623–1662), also wrote: “Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have different effects.”

He has a host of brilliant quotes and thought on life: Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/blaise_pascal_1.html#TTB7rPjI6LZhRU12.99