I watched TheOdd1sOut's How to Find Inspiration1 and remembered the most important lesson I learned from my high school English teacher:
Short is good. Short is hard.
The teacher2 didn't exactly put it like that. But he harped on something nobody else did: writing concisely.
Every week we would read a work of American literature. And every Friday we'd turn in a one-pager encapsulating our knowledge of the book. I was an odd duck for how much I enjoyed the game: no playing with margins or font sizes. I had to cram an entire book into one page, double-spaced, with 1" margins, a title line, and a byline.
I remember spending Thursday nights honing my text, usually down to around 500 words. We would get a slight bonus for conveying more with fewer words.
That's surprisingly difficult for teenagers conditioned to churn out a specific word count. TheOdd1sOut commiserates:
I feel like the American school system has brainwashed kids into thinking that the best way to express ideas is through the form of a five paragraph essay.
And most schools require essays to have a minimum word count! So we are now training the next generation into purposely writing long-winded and wordy thoughts that could've been shortened down a sentence!
I've found success on YouTube through my writing style. Like the LockPickingLawyer, I value my audience's time.
I spend more time editing my scripts than writing them. Whittling at extraneous drivel so the video contains maximum relevance and minimal filler3.
The first piece of advice that I can give that will immediately improve your scripts is:
Getting to the point.
Hello, Dr. Chura! ↩︎
Sometimes I run out of time in script editing, but I always regret it. Every sentence I write carries a cost through recording, editing, and the dreaded YouTube 'audience retention' metric. If you can cut dead weight early in the process, the benefit is exponential. ↩︎