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Leave Out the Parts that People Will Skip

Darren Rowse - ProbloggerAuthor Elmore Leonard once said the following about writing:

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”

Ouch - I read that quote and instantaneously am convicted by my verbosity. I suspect that many bloggers can relate.

One of the keys to blogging is not only working out what to publish - but what not to publish.

This is a skill that I think we need to learn on two fronts:

  1. Within Posts - some bloggers (myself at time) seem to write every thought that comes to mind on a topic as they think it. They end up with long rambling posts that probably could have been said in about 50% of the words.
  2. Across a Blog - on a bigger picture level I’ve been learning lately that posting less frequently and deleting second rate and half thought through posts can improve your blog significantly.

A question that I’ve been asking myself lately before hitting publish:

“Would I read this on another blog and be moved to comment, link to it or pass it onto a friend?”

If I don’t answer yes - I either rewrite the post or delete it.

This guest post was written by Darren Rowse from Problogger.

More great reading: 10 Essential Tips for Writing a Great Post.

Written August 21st, 2007 by | 30 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Miscellaneous Blog Tips , ,

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There are 30 Comments so far to “Leave Out the Parts that People Will Skip”

  1. Let me be the first comment and welcome you Darren to the house of Blog Bloke.

    I totally agree with your conclusions… less is more and quality is better than quantity when it comes to writing.

    Now if I can only figure out how to narrow a post down to one-liners like Scoble and Dave Winer do and I’ll be an a-lister for sure ;-).

    Thanks for the great post. Cheers!

    …BB

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  2. thanks for the opportunity to contribute.

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  3. I’m notoriously verbose. Less is more, but less is hard! I’m practicing my editing more than ever, and I’m thrilled if I can cut 20% of my content and lose nothing in the process.

    If anyone thinks writing short blog post is difficult, try writing a story at OneSentence.org.

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  4. This guest post and the reconciliation it represents makes me very, very happy.

    May you both know every success.

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  5. I wish bloggers would publish less, I find it difficult to keep up with everything. Which is why I’ve had to slash a lot of my RSS subscriptions - I wasn’t getting any work done!

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  6. Yup, I struggle with this every time I post!

    I believe 100% in my writing ability and know that if anyone takes the time to read every word, they will get the message.

    However, when “every word” turns into a post that takes more than just a few minutes to read, people start dropping off.

    Ah, the dangers of being a motor mouth… :)

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  7. I write for a living and can be incredibly concise for work that involves a paycheck. My blogzine, however, can be a different story.

    I’m also trying to trim off the fat and just leave readers with the meat.

    hak

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  8. Good reminder! I tend to be kind of wordy too. If I just take the time, I can usually cut out a lot of extraneous words.

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  9. I could do with a dose of under-dosage in my own blog… I’m taking this advice.

    Thanks, Blog Bloke & Darren!

    Susheel

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  10. …interesting, I’ve always thought the more the better…in terms of frequency of posts as well…but in the end, I have to agree it really comes down to quality content

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  11. Thanks for dropping by and the great comments everyone. Since I’m ill right now and can’t write as often as I would like, I guess I will have no problem following this advice. :)

    Cheers!

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  12. Great quote… seems I’ve seen it somewhere before.

    Good also to see you two have kissed and made up. :)

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  13. Does that go for you and I as well ;-)

    Thanks for dropping Brian.

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  14. That is probably my biggest struggle. I have tried to trim a bit and add some visual things to help draw people through.

    But I’m working on it!

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  15. One technique I learned in songwriting also works for regular writing: remove as many words as you can. You’re left with a core of meaning and shorter sentences that are easier to read.

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  16. Yup…said the same thing on a post recently about building blog abs. We need to take a break sometimes, re-consider what we’re posting, and this way our blogs will be bettah!

    It’s good news to see the happy collaboration!

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  17. “Less is more.”

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  18. I have been following this sort of principal - trouble is I am hardly writing lately :-) Sometimes I get the feeling that it has all been said before and there is nothing new or different I can contribute.

    Sueblimely’s last blog post..What are the Cows and Conns of Making Money Online

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  19. Exactly my point Sue! There are just too many sploggers out there recycling information that’s already been said and done. They make me ill and it’s a game that I refuse to play.

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  20. Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will add backlink - bookmarked this site. Regards,

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  21. I agree. I try to keep my own posts on my NJ open mic blog concise. It’s hard sometimes to keep back some of the full-fledged details, but you have to hope that anyone seriously interested would ask for more.

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  22. Your blog is so informative. Keep up the good work!!!!

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  23. Very nice information. Thanks for this.

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  25. Leave Out the Parts that People Will Skip @ Blog Bloke Tips Thanks for what you have. This really is the most effective publish I’ve study

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  26. […] Darren Rowse wrote that we should “Leave Out the Parts that People Will Skip”. While I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, in my case the problem was just the […]

  27. […] has also generously offered to be a guest blogger here at Blog Bloke and I’m looking forward to that very […]

  28. […] Darren Rowse wrote a article post here called Leave Out the Parts that People Will Skip which I followed up with Writing Less is More, More or […]

  29. […] ~ BlogBloke […]

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