Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the short attention spanned: every line has to tell a story

Must be getting old as I long for the times when a drawing-line meant something and sentences were considered carefully before uttered.

As an architect in training I remember being told that every line has to tell a story, a line must have something ‘behind’, a slab, a window sill, a table edge.
Now it seems to be the other way around – millions of lines on offer and no story to tell, or the story is confused and fragmented.
This is not exclusive to my work – constant ‘chatter’ appears to be everywhere.
Is this to cater for our short attention spans – or have we become short attention-spanned because of all the ‘noise’ around us?

Here is another exercise for you: don’t worry, no downloading this time, no moving parts.
What I’d like to suggest is that next time you need to write a report (a specification, an email or just about anything) – give yourself a word-limit before you start on it, or, once you’ve got the draft – cut the number of words down by a third.

In the last number of years I applied for funding to various angel and other start-up investors.
Most have quite clever (online) application forms where the number of words you can give in your answer for each question is strictly limited.
Annoying first – it focuses the mind incredibly well.

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