How to write tight

 

Too many people write as if they’re still in college, where they think that piling up a big word count will satisfy the professor.

That doesn’t work in real life, folks, because no one except professors are paid to read your writing.

You have to make them want to read your writing; readers have too many other temptations.

So keep it as short as possible, whittling away words, phrases and entire paragraphs that get in the way of your message.

Two suggestions:

1) First, write an outline so you know where you will start and where you hope to finish.

2) Get the words down and then go back and cut, reshape and mold the copy to make it more readable.

Longtime professional writer Dennis Lowery has a good explanation of Step 2. Be sure to check his website for more insights into quality writing:

“Writing is a process. You have to get the words down… all of them… before you should begin editing.

“This is especially important for larger writing projects like an essay or book. If you get in the habit of editing “as you go,”  you’ll find it very hard to make any progress towards finishing. Then you fall into the category of “trying to write” instead of really writing.

“Editing as you go is wasted effort because you cannot know the correct way to edit and adjust your work until you have the piece completed. That does not mean the piece is done. Completed means all the words down. Done is when you’re finished with editing and polishing the work into its final shape.

“I’ve often seen writing compared to building. And it is, in the sense that you are taking small components (words) to create more complex components (sentences) to create larger components (paragraphs) to create larger components (chapters) to create the final assembled product (the book or essay).

“But in the world of professional writers, it’s more like being a sculptor who carves away at a block of stone to reveal what’s inside. To stick with the construction comparison, you build a large structure made up of all those components I mentioned above–and then to make it as best as it can possibly be–you have to strip it down to the essentials, adding only sparingly. Take away from here add a little there. 

“To see some suggested edits for one of my client’s articles go to this post on my blog

http://www.dennislowery.com/blog/2010/12/needless-words.html”