Have you met people who have a hard time trying to put their thoughts together? Usually, they start telling you long complicated stories when the question was just, “Hi, what’s up?” For some reason, for such people, it seems crucial to connect all the episodes of their recent days of life in one wide-scale canvas. As a result, they lose track of their thoughts, start telling you about something else, and often end up not answering your initial question.
What is hilarious is even those people who do not have this glitch in everyday life start being extremely eloquent and vague as they start writing. Sometimes I even think they subconsciously ponder something like, “Okay, since I’m a writer now—I’m gonna write like crazy.”
In reference to this, today’s piece of advice is: “Be specific.” Instead of explanations, I’ll give you the following two examples. Read them and decide on your own which one is specific, and which one is vague and supersaturated.
“I felt really tired. I was so tired I thought I could sleep for a week—if I had that week. I did not recognize myself—I was usually so full of energy; but when I went to the kitchen to make some coffee, I felt like I was at my limit. However, there was work that needed to be done, so I had to pull myself together and wait for better times.”
“My eyelids burned like there was sand beneath them; when I went to the kitchen for yet another cup of coffee, my hands shook as I tried to press the button on the coffee-machine. I could not remember how long I had been awake, but I suppose no less than two days. Still having to finish the accounting project this morning, I promised myself to sleep 72 hours in a row after I finished.”
I believe the second paragraph is more specific than the first one. It’s not a masterpiece, but I tried to show how specific details can contribute to constructing the whole picture and conveying the situation. Try it out, and your writing will get better almost immediately!
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