Editing for brevity, in 151 words

Brevity is the soul of wit.
— William Shakespeare, as Hamlet's Polonius

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.
— Blaise Pascal,  personal letter

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
— Henry David Thoreau, personal letter

Writing is harder for me, now; everything is stiff and seized after my absence. It takes a lot more circling to reach a point. Sentences come out saggy, awkward.

My previous essay came in at a whopping 1,200 words. Ugh.

But I dove back in and cut 261 words (21%). I de-inged gerunds and reduced redundancy. I activated verbs. I touched every sentence.

One example:

Before: Your tiny, leggy, wiggling brine shrimp aren't doing any of that.

After: Your leggy, wriggling little shrimp aren't doing any of that.

One word shorter, but much stronger.