Melanie left a comment on my “Paper Moon” post suggesting that I’m smart and clever and that’s why I write well. The real reason is probably my span of more than 40-years as a working writer. That’s got to be worth something, right?
Here’s how to get “run-on” blogs under control:
When you look at your latest post, look for repeats of what you already said. If you like one set of words better than another? Use the one you like better. Don’t use both. Banging readers over the head by reiterating the same idea is not only boring, it’s also annoying. If it doesn’t add to your commentary, it’s trash.
Delete digressions and rambles. If it’s a personal piece, you can ramble your heart out, but if you want to make a point, the extra writing mires down the text. Obviously there are no hard and fast laws about this. You may need a digression or two to make a point. Only you can judge.
While editing, eliminate as many prepositional phrases as you can. These include: “which” “that” “so” “I believe” “I think” “maybe” “it’s possible” “I’ve been thinking,” and so many more. Dump them. They add nothing your reader doesn’t already know.
When you build a sentence, write frontward. Put the clause with the important information first. Don’t insert it in a middle or final clause. In news writing, that’s called “burying the lead.”
The lead should always lead.
Figuring out where to end a post can be tricky. When you get there, if it still feels like you left something out, don’t add it at the end. Figure out where it where it belongs and that’s where you put it.
It sometimes feels like blogging is a race, a mad dash to maximize the number of posts we publish. Certainly publishing many posts will increase your hits. As someone with just under 210,000 posts, I’d happily delete most of them and no one (including me) would miss them. Maybe instead of racing to see how many posts you can publish, see how many excellent posts you can publish. Rumors to the contrary, blogging isn’t a race. The blogger with the most posts doesn’t win a prize.
We are all smart folks. We write well. If you would like your writing to be crisper, tighter, sharper, and more pointed? Be a ruthless editor. It only hurts in the beginning. After all these years, I’m still amazed at how big an improvement you can make by removing sections.
Sometimes less is so much more.