“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” Blaise Pascal 1657
We spend a lot of time at Blue Sail distilling reams of information into clear, concise copy. Some clients – seeing the naked, ungilded truth – insist we add stuff back in again. Which we only do with heavy hearts. Because we aim to be crystal clear, readable, and memorable. We want our recommendations to be unvarnished and unambiguous – because then people will act on them. And they’ll find it much easier to explain them to others.
As a former editor, cutting copy comes naturally to me. But I have to admit that the easiest copy to prune is other people’s.
So I’ve pinned a few quotes on the wall by my desk to keep me focused on making the things I write “as simple as possible. But no simpler” (Einstein). For example, “Edit your work like you hate it” – from those clever wordsmiths at Quietroom.
And, just yesterday, I spotted a piece about giving presentations that applies to other forms of communication too:
“don’t think about how much you can deliver, but about how little your audience can take in”.