Maximalism vs. Minimalism

Today, I’m writing based off this prompt – maximalism vs. minimalism.

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Under the cut, you’ll find my attempt at both of these.

Minimalism:

While in Pittsburgh, we walked on the Gilfillan Trail, enjoying the peace and quiet of nature’s beauty.

Maximalism:

While visiting the wonderful city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania just a few months ago, Ryan and I strolled casually on the trail at the Gilfillan Farm, enjoying the peace and quiet of nature’s beauty, from the newly-freshened mulch trail, to the sloping, grass-covered hills; the breathtaking, clear blue skies, where not a cloud appeared in sight, to the farmhouse, quiet and calm; from the downhill strides to the individual flowers and even the weeds that sprouted up among our feet; and even whenst we lost our way, to eventually find our way back, to walk, hand in hand, into the sunset.

Thoughts:

This was an interesting challenge. Both sentences are complete in themselves, fulfilling complete ideas. The minimalist sentence is much simpler, but the struggle is that it doesn’t allow for many details. The maximalist sentence, on the other hand, allows me to throw in so many details that I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was interesting, actually, because it gave me the chance to revisit the experience and really draw from nature and the senses. If I had wanted to further expand, I could’ve gone on to describe the smells, the breeze in the air (was it chilly? I believe it was.) I could’ve went on to say how I wasn’t wearing the proper kind of footwear for a trail walk, but that I enjoyed it nonetheless. Now that I’ve gotten started thinking about this, it’s almost as if all these extraneous details are flooding into my brain and I simply don’t have the space to write about them.

Is one style of writing better than the other? I don’t think so. I can see the positives and the negatives of both of these styles of writing. If you’re tight on space and/or facing a word limit, you’ve got to be creative and be at least slightly minimalist, to be able to still use some details and provide a full picture while fitting into your constraints. Unfortunately, the minimalist style doesn’t allow you to use too many details, but this really pushes your creative side. It’s always interesting when you’ve been assigned a 400-word piece…. and you’ve written 1,000 words on it. How can you possibly eliminate so much? (Yet you find a way to do it!) The maximalist style really pushes your creative side, too, but in the opposite way. Rather than pushing you to limit yourself, it pushes you to expand your brain, think about details, sights, senses, and find ways to put those details of your experience into words.

I encourage all of my readers to take this challenge! Write about anything – an experience you had, what you did for lunch today, where you’re going this weekend. Try it in both styles and see which you like best, if you have a preference. Allow each style to challenge you in a different way, creatively, and work your writing magic!

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