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I am in no academic circles, nor have any friends who are interested in writing, so it is difficult for me to get any feedback regarding my writing. Any of what I've learned has been through reading other masters of writing, like Emerson or Thoreau.

Currently I am reading a book that talks about the importance of reducing clutter and unnecessary words, and from my perspective, I've stripped the following piece of writing to its bare minimum. But from an outside perspective, I'm sure there are many things I'm not seeing.

Mo is a haplessly supercilious man who apparently refers to himself in third person. All self shaming aside, I like to write, some what garrulously, and use words that I just learnt yesterday and pretend I’ve known them my whole life. It is my goal to one day write in a way that would make Emerson proud (or cry).

By craft and means I am a software developer, specifically iOS. Since young, I have been an interloper, trying my hands at all sorts of crafts to find one that I might marry. My passions have alighted from bough to bough, but as I have grown older, my fleeting attention span has abated and settled on to a trade that has made me an all too comfortable man, and this is the state from which I am currently trying to flee. The thrill of living is the pursuit of survival, but once this has been secured, life withers and creativity parches.

I have mostly been, in all my life, a reclusive, social intro-extrovert, with capriciously varying cycles. As of late, I have been surreptitious about my life, for I have been of the thought that the less people know about you, the less they can trouble you. But this has been an unproductive outlook, and this here — this expounding of my life and habits — is an attempt to reverse that, and share perhaps what I would have otherwise been uncomfortable sharing.

Here are my questions:

  1. Are some words not necessary, and can safely be omitted without destroying the message?

  2. Overall objective and subjective opinion, respectively.

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Hi Mo, and welcome to Writers. Stack Exchange is not like other sites. We're not a discussion board, and we generally don't do "subjective" questions. You do have a fairly good question here ("Can this statement be simplified any more?"), so that can be answered, but we like to focus on one question per post. If you want to also, separately, ask how to make it more humorous, please post that as a new question. –  Lauren Ipsum Dec 11 '13 at 20:26
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@LaurenIpsum hey Lauren, I've simplified my question and reduced it to 1 primary question, and a second general request for overall opinion. –  Mo Bitar Dec 11 '13 at 20:31
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The first sentence appears out of place being in third person, while the rest is in first. I think you removed a transition you shouldn't have. I find the whole jarring and rough, too many ideas with no flow. –  hildred Dec 11 '13 at 23:57
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1 Answer

Objective

  1. Reducing clutter is almost always a good idea in writing. Why 'almost always'? Because sometimes you want to produce long, flowing, 'garrulous' prose. The paragraph you have produced is very weighty, I worry cutting support words out may cause it to collapse under itself. Clearer language does not always mean less language.

  2. Number one aside, the word 'that' is generally superfluous. "And use words just learnt yesterday..." "Trying my hands at all sorts of crafts to find one I might marry..." "For I have thought the more people know about you..."

If you do need 'that', use it with a noun. "I believe that idea/statement/idiom..." instead of just "I believe that."

Subjective

  1. I would recommend cutting some of the "I"s from your prose. It can make your writing sound stilted. For example, compare "and share perhaps what I would have otherwise been uncomfortable sharing" to "and perhaps to share what would otherwise have been uncomfortable to share." The repetition of the word 'share,' in the same form, links the beginning and ending of the phrase. Eliminating the word 'I' allows the reader to join the sentiment instead of listen to it.

  2. Some what, in this sense, is one word. Self shaming is two words, but hyphenated as self-shaming. Interloper is just the wrong word to use here, try dilettante instead. Alighting means 'to land', and 'landing from branch to branch' sounds odd. There needs to be some taking off between landings.

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Thanks for your feedback. I would upvote but I don't have enough reputation. You've made some valid points. I am struggling with the part about removing 'I'. It makes it feel impersonal. "And use words just learnt yesterday" - who has done the learning? "For I have thought" vs "have been of the thought": I wanted to say that I have been under a false state of mind, not just thought, but that my whole consciousness has been subsumed by this thought. Lastly, alight could mean "to settle", and I therefore settled from say one place to another. I feel this can be correct, no? –  Mo Bitar Dec 12 '13 at 21:10
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