Brevity Challenge:mastering The Art Of Saying Only What Needs To Be Said

Hello Impact-gang, a beautiful morning to you all!So yesterday we set a challenge for writers via our Instagram page, and we had fun reading through stories as the writers clashed their pen fighting for the trophy. This year, we seek to not only enlighten writers but to also empower them, to bring them and their talent to the spotlight, as much as we can. So this is just the beginning and it is fun already, however, not for everybody.

Some persons complained that the 150-word Challenge is just too tiny a space for their talent to fit in, but this is because they missed the entire  point of the challenge. This wouldn't be the first  time we had people thinking this way, we experience such at the beginning of each writing course, however at the end of each course we have the students thankful for the challenges which by that time had helped them master the art of saying more by writing less. 

We write to share information, an opinion or to entertain, but if your written piece is littered with words that do not enhance clarity within the shortest time frame, then you will simply tire out the readers by having them read tons of words before grasping the point you are trying so hard to make.

So how do you embrace brevity? How do you say more in fewer words? And what are the benefits in doing so?

Here’s all you need to know:


1. Focus on your point

A writer without focus is deadbeat. Focusing on your point directs your writing and helps you nail it just right on the head instead of running about the bush all in the name of creativity. When you want to write an idea, you are not to pour in the one million  and hundred thoughts running through your mind. Dumping everything that ever crossed your mind on the paper or your Word Document makes sense when writing a first draft, afterwards you are to weed out the unnecessary words by applying your brevity skill. Not doing so would lead to a very clumsy writing. Stay focused and don't just say anything anyhow, stick to your point and make it.

2. The word-count effect

One writing rule that helps to keep your copy clean and comprehensive is limiting the use of Adverbs. Words like “very”, “really” and “actually”,  often come easily to us while writing because these are words we use daily in our speeches. However, with brevity challenges you have a word-count to stick to, and striving to stick to that word count opens your eyes to see that you can do without those words. Often times, removing them leaves no impact on the comprehension of your written piece. So the fewer word counts put you in check. 

3. Switching from Passive Voice

Brevity challenges help you switch from passive voice to active voice. Writing with active voices ensure more clarity that writing passively. Any good writer switches from passive to active voice as much as they can (sometimes you can not avoid them though)

Active voice example: Many persons entered for the contest

Passive voice example: The context had many people sending in their entries.

You would agree with me that the sentense wri tten in active first is more direct and clear. 

4. Precision is key

Nothing makes a written piece wickedly smart as precision!Precision does not only accentuate your point, it makes it have a punch effect too. Short punchy sentences will always drive readers down to the full stop, than long dragging sentences will ever try. The difference is precision.

For example, instead of writing “She does not know how to do her job well”, say, “She is incompetent”. 

 Brevity challenges help you to be precise because you do not have so much space for throwing words around. So explore your vocabulary and dig out the bestwords and employ them in ensuring that your write-up is precisely written.

5. Grooming the Editor in you

Brevity challenges birth and grooms the editor in you. Often times people ask me to coach them on how to be an editor and my response has always been “master the art of writing and writing well, then editing will come”. When you have a mastery in writing, you know that what you take out is as important as what you put in. Writing is only half of the equation. The other half is editing. In order to write well, you need to edit well. Since brevity challenges forces you to be precise, to chop off unnecessary words in order to fit into given word-count, it indirectly drags you into the path of critical and analytical editing already. 

So with the few points shared, learn to embrace rather than rebuff, brevity writing challenges. 

In conclusion we want to thank all our instagram followers who sent in entries for the contest  and those who helped to judge the process  through their power likes. Dear entrant, whether your post had the highest likes or not, I would want you to know that you are winners too. For stretching out of your comfort zone to flex your writing muscles at the shortest notice and within the slimmest time interval, you are winning!In a special way we congratulate @mizz_med for winning the prize!

 Practice! Practice!!Practise!!!

Now, do not just sit around waiting for the next challenge, practise!Practise your writing!Invest in it, do it over and again, and you will get better by day!See you at the top!

Chiamaka, Obiagbaoso.