Volumes – if you use the right six words.

Magritte's pipe that wasn't

One of the benchmarks of great writing is being able to convey a huge amount of information in as few words as possible. It’s the written equivalent of a great actor expressing a tidal wave of emotion with just a twitch of the mouth or a slight widening of the eyes.

That’s why it’s so important to take the time to edit your online copywriting or content down to its purest essence.

Do several sweeps through each piece, eliminating at least 10% of the word count each time. Eliminate adverbs and adjectives and choose stronger verbs and nouns to use instead. Never use two words when one will suffice.

The more you focus on making your writing as clear and concise as possible, the stronger and more unforgettable your message will be.

And now for some creative inspiration

To show you how much power you can pack into just a few words, here’s a great website to check out: http://www.sixwordstories.net/

It’s a fabulous collection of stories told in six words or less. Many of these micro-narratives tell a deeper story and evoke more emotion than many 300-page novels you’ll find on the NYT bestseller’s list.

Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Strangers. Friends. Best friends. Lovers. Strangers.
  2. First sentient robot: “Turn me off.”
  3. Brought roses home. Keys didn’t fit.
  4. He bottle-feeds his wife’s killer.
  5. Goodbye, mission control. Thanks for trying.
  6. My Dads met at Bible Camp.
  7. Inside cupboard, naked goosebumps — husband home.
  8. Leaders lie. Sons die. Mothers cry.
  9. I leave. Dog panics. Furniture shopping.
  10. Pillows? Swords, Nunchuks, Maces, and Mauls!

… I most especially love that last one because it reminds me so much of my own young boys. 🙂

What’s the takeaway?

You don’t have to write War and Peace to get your message across in a powerful and unforgettable way. In fact, most people don’t WANT to read huge reams of information – they want to be able to understand what you’re saying at a glance.

By focusing on telling your story in as few powerful and compelling words as possible, you will guarantee that more people will read it, remember it, and be more likely to share it with your friends.

So get out your red pen and start editing! 🙂