How do we ensure we get the point over to our reader, without wasting their time?
Most writers, write because they love words. Doesn’t mean you have to use them all in one article though. There is an art to being succinct at stating your points. If we are to respect the readers of our work, then we need to get to the point.
Writing should be for the reader, not the writer. Everything you do should have the reader at the centre of your work. You might want to use extravagant words, but does it improve the message you want to portray. If it doesn’t, stick to writing at an eighth-grade level.
I’m not advocating treating your readers like idiots. I am advocating being precise in your message. Save the descriptive language for your novels or personal journal.
Why we waffle?
Many sites, that pay for views, calculate the earnings on reading time. This led writers to move towards extending their articles, to above five minutes to get the bucks. What they didn’t realise was that readers were getting bored and switching off halfway through. If you are like me you don’t finish the post.
Whether someone reads 50% of an eight-minute post or 100% of a four-minute post, the income is the same.
Edit the life out of the post.
My process is to write an article and then let it sit. Sometimes for a half-hour, sometimes for days. The time isn’t important, as long as you walk away for a period of it.
Then go back to that article and edit the life out of it. Get rid of redundant words, phrases and sentences. Edit as much as you can, without taking the essence out of the story. Sometimes that is as much as a third for me.
The road to hell is paved with adverbs.Stephen King, On Writing.
Don’t worry about the read time.
If your post ends up at one-minute long, so what. Ask the question have you said what you wanted to? If the answer is yes then publish. A reader will come back for more if they find you a valuable source of information.
Shortform articles are taking over Medium at the moment and they are 150 words. I like reading them as much as longer articles. You can write an article with very few words.
I am not saying, don’t express your opinions and ideas to their fullest. Ensure though you are always offering value to your readers.
Remove the waffle; edit the life out of the article and stop worrying about reading time.