Dec 2012 – Four Tips for Tighter Writing.

Four Tips for Tighter Writing


It’s the holiday season, Dear Reader, so I have a lot of competition for your attention. To give you as much value per word as possible, let’s skip straight to my tips for tighter writing.

1. Don’t waste words.

Delete qualifiers (very, almost, nearly, just, simply). Replace wordy phrases with words: “under no circumstances should you” becomes “never” and “in the matter of” becomes “about.” Eliminate redundancies: “best ever” “repeat again.”

2. “Kill your darlings.”

“Kill your darlings” is writing advice attributed to William Faulkner. A darling is writing you love but need to cut. It’s easier to delete your darlings if you know they aren’t lost forever. Move them to a file called darling.doc to read when you need inspiration.

3. Don’t state the obvious.

Your reader assumes you’re writing about your own knowledge or opinions, so there’s no need to say “I know,” “I think,” “I believe,” or “In my opinion.” If you’re writing about someone else’s knowledge or opinion, then you need to say so.

4. Use active voice.

In active voice, you say that someone did something: Jane read the book. In passive voice you say that something was acted on by someone: The book was read by Jane. Active voice says the same thing with fewer words.

Follow these simple steps to make your writing less wordy. Do you want more advanced help? Many college and university English departments have websites dedicated to writing instruction. (What a surprise!) Here are the sites I use.


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About the Author

If you’ve ever found yourself wordless, out of time, forced to write and hating it, you’ve needed my help. I’m Debra Hemminger. I write content for people like you who want to grow their small business by sharing knowledge their audience values. Writing content for small businesses is my dream job because I draw on all of my interests as I help people like you grow their audience.


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