I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal
Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?
In all of my experience writing, I deeply appreciate Blaise Pascal’s wise words. Prior to blogging, my only experience with writing lay in the academics from elementary school all the way through to graduating from university. I remember learning the structural requirements of term papers, learning proper research techniques and learning the morals and ethics behind sound writing. At first being handed 10 pages writing assignments seemed such a daunting task: how am I going to find the words to fill 10 long pages? But as any skilled and talented writer will attest to, (I can only imagine, not being one myself as of yet), all of this experience is a necessity in order to exercise your writing muscles and develop your skill and voice.
While I was writing at this level, it did give me the opportunity to hone my argumentative skills, my logical progression and the development of a strong narrative that I was able, point by point, build upon a solid foundation of fact.
I thought by this point that I was standing on solid ground by way of writing until I took one course that changed my writing style forever, at least academically. The course funny enough wasn’t even a writing course or an English course, it was a political science course analyzing the Israel/Palestine question. The academic requirements for the course were simple, four 3 pages papers over the course of the class. This was the most difficult writing assignment that I had ever been given, I’ll never forget one of the topics “Explain the dynamics of the wars of 1947, 1953, 1967, 1973 on the region”. Do you know how extraordinarily difficult it is to explain and dissect 30 years of war between two peoples and the ramifications in only 3 pages. It taught me so much in terms of achieving concise and precise language. It taught me how to edit, how to strip away all of the flowery words, all of the hemming and hawing and get to the heart of the matter.
I would not say which is better after all that I have written; academically I would lean more towards brevity and strong precise arguments. However when it comes to personal writings, fictional writings of all genres, I would not criticize long passages of descriptive language, they paint pictures for the reader and that is as important as the ideas that words bring to life.
Basically writing in whatever shape or form is a blessing and a beautiful endeavor.. If you have something inside that wants to be said, put it on paper however long or short you want to make it, as long as it gets written down, that is the most important part.