In creativity, rote is bad. Rules are good -- although often meant to be broken.
One of the rules in writing is "show, don't tell." Let me use myself as an example. In the first draft of yesterday's post, I wrote:
I do a fairly phenomenal job of taking care of my family, friends and clients. I do a fairly hideous job of taking care of myself.
While I liked the parallel structure of the sentences, I didn't like the whiny "telling" of the second sentence. So, I changed it to:
I do a fairly phenomenal job of taking care of my family, friends and clients. I go full speed all day, then collapse around 11:30 p.m.
I haven't been to the gym in a year, I forget my vitamins regularly and I probably read two, maybe three books in all of 2010. Because reading books requires sitting down.
Longer? Yes -- and I do favor short. But word count is less important than impact and this version is far more descriptive.
This year, after you write something, read it again. Make sure your talent is showing.
(Today's writing advice goes along with my favorite parenting advice: Don't worry that they're not listening to everything you say. Worry that they're watching everything you do.)