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Two hot air ballons flying over idyllic landscape

When Less Really Can Mean More

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Copywriting

We humans are full of contradictions aren't we? Sometimes, we don't want to think differently, or to read, or take some kind of beneficial action, even though we know in our hearts what we're doing is damaging, we can still repeat the same mistakes, over and over. Yes, we are complicated, but we can learn, progress, and overcome hurdles too.

A Connection Between Speed, Television, And The Hard Physical Work Many Of Us Try To Avoid 

Often, we'll do all we can to avoid strenuous activities (that certainly includes me). We may prefer less demanding attractions such as sitting in front of a TV and watch other, more proactive people do most of the work for us. A point that we who write sales material would do well to remember.

For many, the power of television does indeed come "to the rescue". To get the pay-off, we just have to sit there and let the wonderfully alluring sounds, scenes, and images flood into our brain.

Arguably, most of the time, television does the majority of the thinking for us - plus, we don't usually have to read anything (unless sub-titles are required - in which case, we may only read them consistently if sufficiently motivated by the story or drama).

Speed and instant feedback can indeed be overrated. While a hot air balloon travels much more slowly than a transatlantic jet, a slower speed can mean more opportunity to enjoy the view, savor the journey, relish, think about our place in the world, and later, recall the memories of such experiences. 

If we don't read, we are unlikely to learn. So reading is essential, even more so today than perhaps ever before. Reading is an activity that is particularly enjoyed by those who desire to win in the game of life. If you're not reading regularly, join us: read more, and let the power of words and different perspectives rewire your brain, and help build better times for you, and all the people who rely on the decisions you make.

Another Tips Snippet from: Brian Austin

Why The Power Of The Storytelling Novel Endures

When reading something like a favorite novel - we're only too happy to become absorbed by the imagery that a carefully crafted collection of words can slowly weave in our minds. 

To escape. To be whisked away to another land, another time, or to a land down under. To share in some way, the lives of those characters the author has ingeniously created.

At such times, the effort of reading hardly seems like effort, as we almost seem to experience the story directly, in a personal way, almost invisible, hardly aware that we're just reading words.

Words and sentences and phrases become the scene creating pictures in our mind's eye. During these events, we hardly notice how long a chapter may be, or the length of complete document.

Nevertheless, reading does demand mental effort and perhaps not surprisingly, thinking stimulates thoughts to "appear", which causes more thoughts to materialize - almost instantly. Yet at the same time, we may lead incredibly busy lives. We may often feel "pressured", and so on.

During such more franctic periods, naturally, we may cultivate "let's resist reading" mode - we'll only read what we must, to "get by."

Yet for others, when too much busy-busy crashes into our world, reading contrast offers a welcome change.

So How Can A Writer Deal With Such Apparent Contradictions?

Thankfully, there's one simple yet incredibly powerful way you can help maximize the chances that your document is read.

Whether writing novels or business literature, in general, here's a guideline to consider:

  • Use as few words as you need to make your point, then stop.
  • When appropriate, use headings and sub-headings as signposts and pauses to help break up the flow of words on paper or screen.

Yet, there are always exceptions. Sometimes, the amount of words becomes a lesser concern. When skilful spellbound entertainment at work succeeds, readers may not even notice, realise, or even agree that "word excess" is present.

If like Stephen King or J K Rowling, you're in the envious position of having built up huge, unrelenting devotion from your readers, who eagerly await and devour whatever you write next, however flamboyant, long-winded, or obtuse.

In these instances, the length or wordiness of your document tends to become irrelevant, beneficial even, or celebrated as a positive trait!

If you have previously won by writing a lot of words, you can probably continue, for a while at least. While sales are high, your publisher won't care. In time though, you know nothing lasts forwever; your season in the light will pass. Someone else will take your place. Their chapter begins. That is the nature of success.

Tragically, I suspect that there are millions of great writers "out there", who's works may never see the light of day. Even worse, some may become famous, or more famous, after they are long dead.

That's why, the conventional approach often taken by "traditional authors" when writing books and ebooks is not always a good choice. Today, we writers should use technology more and more and explore what's possible. Get savvy. Get smarter. Even better, it's nice to do such things when we are alive to enjoy fruits of labours, hard won. 

 

For Web Pages, Do Remember To Consider The Needs Of Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, And Other Search Engines With Ever Growing, Remarkable Perceptions

Maybe eventually, books will meld into the web. For today however, Google and other perceptive search engines delight in interacting with authentic, carefully written text - up to a point.

Several thousands words of considered, crafted, unique web page text, with liberal use of meaningful, helpful headings and sub-headings, imagery, and perhaps video content too, helps build value into written content online. So you must decide and determine what is your best approach.

More wordy content does not necessarily mean more valuable content. People engagement is key. Readers can decide for themselves where value exists. Google and others seek to monitor how people react to our web pages, in order to better help determine what is more valuable to users worldwide. Sounds like a great plan.

Yet perhaps, Google and other search engines do not rely on people alone. Who knows what Artificial Intelligence is applied to web pages, to help determine usefulness or value. So first and foremost, write your best material.

In addition, quite rightly, accurate user commenting is a difficult metric to rely on. How many comments are false or automatically generated by outside parties? 

However, in previous years, if you had 5,000 words or more of web page text, you would probably best be advised to split your text up into multiple, linked web pages.

How people live and work and use tools is constantly changing. Today, people are using screens more often. More high resolution screens exist. Mobile phones are reading devices too. Reading online is getting easier for everyone. Paper use is plummeting. Deep coverage on web pages can command new value. A single web page can almost become a mini-ebook.

Depth of topic coverage has special value. Smart search engines are recognising how we are adapting to more use of electronic screens.

Perhaps the best guiding principle is to honestly ask yourself - and other trusted parties - how you / they would feel when reading such longer web pages. Then you can better determine what is the best, most suitable page length.

Some Additional Ideas To Consider

Consider the following guidelines:

  • Make brevity your watchword, even and especially if you're writing an in-depth topic. The longer a web page becomes, the more important each word choice becomes too. Make every word count to form the value for your web page or document.
  • To help impress the idea that "Less is more" on your conscious mind, tell yourself that this is the most important writing tip ever.
  • However, accept that you will deliberately break the brevity rule when writing longer documents. You must to create in-depth coverage. However, the goal is to instil brevity consciousness first and foremost, no matter what the length of your final document.
  • Whatever style of writing you're using, keep your message brief, snappy and to the point whenever possible.
  • Aim to put over your meaning or message clearly and concisely.
  • Every document or communication should have a core purpose and a goal. Appreciate that sometimes, the shorter your document or presentation, the more successful your piece can be. However, balance this with the purpose and goal of your communication.
  • Nevertheless, understand and appreciate the flip-side of brevity: if you make your publication too short, effectiveness decreases. Use your own judgment to find the "sweet spot", where you create the most effective balance between goal, purpose and length of presentation, for your intended readership or audience.
  • By all means, start by simply recording your thoughts onto the page in the best way you can, or using whatever tools help you meet your goal. Then develop, build up and rearrange your text to achieve the precise effect you want.
  • Before you finish, cut, delete and destroy every word, phrase, sentence, or even paragraph, that does nothing to add to the quality of your presentation.
  • Especially, watch out for redundant words; for example: in most instances the word "very" is unnecessary.
  • You may become surprised at just how many words are actually surplus to the central need of your message. Plus, when removed, if deleted excess verbiage does not inflict any loss of meaning whatsoever to your document, excellent: time well spent.
  • When you write to meet a specific goal, you'll get to sense when you have written enough to make your point.
  • Consider the special needs of web pages. Why: you have two audiences - people and search engines. Seek out the ideal balance. Web search results can help indicate to you, if you have achieved an ideal balance.
  • Stop before you risk boring your reader, viewer, or listener. Perhaps, I too may have almost reached that limit here, today. You'll decide.

Our less is more tip can apply to all forms of writing fiction, nonfiction, speaking and creating website content.

Brevity is indeed its own message - so I'll stop too :-)