Ninja Writing


Believe it or not, I spend a lot of time thinking about writing. Now I know if you are a regular reader of MacSparky you may chortle but this blog is where I let my hair down a bit. When writing for clients and guys wearing black robes I am always very careful. You only have so much time and attention from your reader and people’s lives depend on me laying out their position favorably and quickly before I lose my reader.

There is a joke in the legal profession. “The difference between a good brief and a bad brief is about ten pages.” This doesn’t mean ten more pages. It means ten less pages. I like to finish my legal briefs about three days before they are due. I then spend the next several days stopping every once in awhile and hacking at it with my red pen. The brief never gets longer during this three day period. It usually gets much shorter. Just today I was paring down one of my briefs and came to a line comparing the other side’s position to Alice falling down the rabbit hole. While that seemed rather brilliant while I dictated it a few nights ago, today it looked cheap, contrived, and unprofessional. Scratch.

So there you have it:
1. Give it some time;
2. Don’t take ownership in every word;
3. Hack away.

There is a point to this post. Honestly.

Today I came across a post at called “Is There Really Room for Error in Writing?”. It is another fine post and I think Michael really nailed it when he explained:

As a writer, you have a limited arsenal. A sentence can only hold so many words before your reader loses track of what you’re saying. The English language only has so many synonyms that your reader understands, which limits the vocabulary you can use. So a writer has to squeeze all his or her meaning into a small space. There is little room for error.

Go read the article here. If you also “think” about writing, add to your RSS feed. It is well worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *