The biggest fallacy of writing on the web is the idea that there is unlimited space, and as such limitation of space is of no consequence. That is not quite true. Instead of space, the true limitation of the Internet is attention.

The prolonged throat clearing or using words that make you reach for a thesaurus don’t account for the paucity of attention that commands an economy of words and synthesis of thought, both presented with the crispness of a freshly laundered linen shirt.

A friend recently shared an article about Apple and Samsung’s creative process. The differences are stark, but for me what stood out about Apple was its ability to throw out a lot of work — actually scratch that, throw out great work — to aim for final simplicity. It is not about cramming all the features into the device, instead it is the right features.

Writing too is similar. When you have a minute-and-a-half of someone’s attention, simply putting forward a persuasive argument, a clear and simple story or factual news is creativity. That ability to edit everything down to the very essence in an elegant, interesting and enjoyable way that delights (and informs) is what writing is all about.

Letter from Om

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