Exmouth Market, Hub


This is precisely what Dan Hill was talking about.

13 Replies to “Exmouth Market, Hub”

  1. To be fair, he does begin by saying:

    I didn’t have enough time to write something short, so I dashed off the following, and I’m really posting here as a note to self, rather than an attempt to deeply discuss the everyday informational street circa 2008.

  2. Not enough time to do something short? However long did that epistle take him? It just goes on and on and on! He could have saved time and effort by stopping after the first paragraph, we’d have got the gist.

  3. Not enough time to do something short?

    Have you never heard that phrase? Its tongue-in-cheek, but it refers to a common and very real pitfall of writing.

    It refers to the idea that first drafts of articles and books are always much longer than they need to be. Most people do not write everything in haiku-like brevity at the first attempt. You get down everything that you want to say, then revisit the article and hone it to a fine point. That’s what takes the time.

    Dan ackowledges this, and offers his ‘first draft’ for us. Since he is writing a blog, not a book, its entirely forgivable.

    The same thing happens to me regularly. The first version of this comment was twice the length…

  4. Well, yes, but there remains the simple question, even if bounded only by one’s typing speed, would it take a person longer to write 1000 words (of draft quality), or 500? If it takes x amount of time to write y words, then it must take x/2 amount of time to write y/2 words. Deleting words post hoc is separate question.

    It stands to reason that it would have taken the gentleman half the amount of time to write half the amount of words. Therefore, to write as many words as he did clearly demonstrates that he wasn’t short of time. He just goes on and on and on!

    Quid, (I think you’ll find) E.D.

  5. I’m speechless, Clairce. You display such a willfull lack of understanding of what it is to write an article – especially one trying to fulfil some kind of policy brief – that I suspect you’re pulling my leg and I’m just too humourless to notice.

    Your QED only holds if writing was a stricly linear exercise. The quip (“shorter if I had more time”) is often used by writers and journalists to convey precisely the fact that it isn’t.

    Yes, 500 words would have taken half as long to write, but with half the information too – which Mr Hill would have found unsatisfactory. Is this really so difficult a concept to grasp?

  6. Actually, Roberto, now I am speechless. You display such a wilfull lack of understanding of what it is to write an article, that I suspect you’re pulling my leg and I’m just too humourless to notice.

    My QED holds whether or not writing is a linear exercise. Five hundred words of draft quality would take half as long to write as a thousand words (other things being equal). The fact that to edit it down would then take longer again is neither here nor there to the point I was making. Was it really such a difficult point to grasp?

  7. But the point is, that other things are certainly not equal. Half the draft means it would have half the information too. Which – as I said above – Mr Hill would have found unsatisfactory. As would anyone who wanted to glean the complete thought he was willing to express.

  8. But we are not talking about what is satisfactory, Rob. That is a total red-herring. We are talking about how long it takes to write things. And the fact still remains that it takes longer to write a longer draft than it does to write a short one. Or, to put it another way, it takes longer to write down a large amount of information than it does to write down a small amount of information. We’re not talking about what happens to the draft next. I don’t know why you keep harping on about that when it has nothing to do with the point I was making. I could scream, Rob, I really could. I don’t know why you keep ignoring my perfectly valid point.

  9. Oh, its completely valid, but also slightly autistic. In dismissing Dan’s proviso (“if I had more time, I could have written something shorter”) you seem to be ignoring both the wit and the revealed truth of the quip, and also criticising him for something that has already been adequately apologised for.

  10. No, I wasn’t dismissing it! I was simply drawing attention to the irony of it!

    Also, NOWHERE did I say that he SHOULD have written something shorter. All I was saying, was that if he was short of time, as he claimes, he could have just stopped half-way through writing what he wrote, and gone out and done something less boring instead. Which makes me think that he can’t have been that short of time, if he managed to get that great long epistle down on paper.

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