Improve Your Writing: Avoid Wordiness
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
I was asked recently to trim two articles by 40 or 50 words so that each fit the existing layout of a client's newsletter. That's no problem for me, but one of my goals for any editing project is to be considerate of the author's message and writing style.
Perhaps you've found yourself walking that fine line with your own copy – you have so much good stuff to write, but it's simply too wordy when you finish putting pen to paper.
You need to cut something. But what? And how?
Start by shortening wordy sentences. With patience and a keen eye, you and/or your editor can shorten practically any sentence by removing what I call "empty calorie" words and phrases. These also are called "filler" or "weasel" words, and they contribute nothing to your writing. Below are a few examples.
* In spite of the fact that
* Due to the fact
* At all times
Instead of writing, "It is imperative that all employees report to the meeting early and on time," trim it to say, "All employees must report to the meeting on time." That's a difference of five words! Here's a helpful chart my wife found online that I re-posted to our Edit This® Facebook page a while back.
You'd be surprised how wordy we all are! Writing concisely allows you to present more information with fewer words while maintaining a clear message. By following this simple approach with my client, I trimmed the fat in the newsletter without sacrificing anything critical. The end result was a quality product.
This blog focused on wordiness, but using the active voice and staying on topic also helps you stay concise. For a longer discussion, here's an article I found with 10 tips for more concise writing.
Edit This® is a full-service writing and editing services company. With more than 20 years of experience, I can help you clearly and concisely communicate your written message to any audience. Give us a call today, and thanks for reading!
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, LLC, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Along with being a sports writer for the Denton Record-Chronicle, Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.