Is it easier to write more or less?

Haiku about Mars

In my case, apparently it’s only possible to write far too much.

However, if I were writing a how-to guide or manual, I know I should be making it as short and to the point as possible.

In some cases, the same point could be made of assessments. A word count is not a very meaningful metric in itself, but does a strict word limit make an assignment harder, because it takes more skill to be concise, or easier, because there’s less to write? Either way, larger word counts add more work for the teacher, without necessarily making the assignment any more meaningful.

As one of my fellow students put it, quoting Einstein,

‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’.

Another quoted Antoine de Saint-Exupéry about the creative journey:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Sharing a different perspective, a commenter from the art school discussed enabling constraints, which should be related more to project duration (how long will the work last?) or should detail what students can NOT do. They argued for the importance for art students of learning how to distinguish between enabling constraints and concepts.

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(Planetary Poetry Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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