"How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray
I tend to be concise, but my rule of thumb is to write as much as the topic or question requires. If you have an artifical word/page limit, as others have mentioned, the key is to choose a topic whose scope matches this limit. As an exercise, try to write an abstract for your paper. That is, if you must write a 20 page paper, write a < 1 page summary hitting the key points. Then go back and focus on these in the longer manuscript. This should identify what is essential and what is, if not fluff, then at least expendable.
I tend to be able to write most things, even very long papers, in almost final form in a first draft, but that's just me. I can't even start until I know the end. Then I edit, but usually nothing major, unless I get significant new information that needs to be included. I will try to pare out unnecessary words. I think of it not so much in terms of overall length, but rather as minimizing the word to content ratio.
This is affecting me at the moment as I am writing up stuff for university and constantly being over the word limits they set. Like at least 50% over!
The usual advice I guess is to write up everything and then prune ruthlessly (but I usually can't prune more than say 25% without feeling like I am getting rid of content that's actually relevant!)
Could it just be that I/we have a 'broader' sense of what is relevant to include in a piece of writing than (dare I say it..) S types?
I do ramble a bit in speech as well but it's mostly writing where I have this issue.
You would think after 10 years of academia that it's an academic 'skill' that can be learnt like note taking, Harvard referencing etc, but obviously still lacking here.
Is it possible to learn to be a more concise writer?
Do you write concisely from the beginning or rewrite?
I wonder if this is a P thing, as the various _N_J co-workers and friends I have known have tended to be more concise, with the exception of one guy (who I always thought of as strongly P, but came out as a INTJ on the official test and feels that this 'fits') who rambles on in emails etc in a similar way to me.
I feel a bit silly asking this as I should know after all this time, but I don't!
I think the best way to describe my own communication style is this: I use "big" words, but I use them efficiently. I am not unnecessarily verbose. I prefer to communicate in a way so that I can say as much as possible, using as few words as possible. Sometimes this means a larger vocabulary is required.
I think you're correct in thinking this is more of a J-P difference than something that all NTs share.
Here is a writing trick I learned in college that will help you reduce your word count: write your content backwards. Instead of recording an entire train of thought from A to Z, start each paragraph with the ending, the important point you are trying to make in one sentence. Then, provide the minimum amount of information/sentences needed to reinforce your point. Finally, finish with a transitional set-up for the next paragraph or a final idea that concludes the entire article if it's the last paragraph.
In fact, this is how you are supposed to write (thesis, supporting facts or concepts, transition or conclusion). Although it's a somewhat counter-intuitive way to write it makes your writing easier for another person to understand and helps cut down on superfluous content.
Once upon a time, in land far far away there was a princess who read through all the threads the NT's wrote, taking notes as she went along in her pretty pink notebook. With unicorns on it. Yeah! Glittery and unicorns! She cackled with glee! Oh, dear lord... I would drive you guys batty. I don't really write like that. Well, sometimes I do. It's called a false start. I free write and whatever comes out is what's on the paper.
"We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes." - Ralph Waldo Emerson