by Barbara McNichol
I constantly encourage authors and business professionals to improve their writing by tightening their paragraphs. But what does that mean? Getting your point across with words that each carry their own weight in the sentence and “whacking” those that don’t. Your goal? Creating maximum clarity using a minimum number of words. That’s whacking wordiness!
Whack Wordiness Exercise #1
Here’s your challenge: Tighten the paragraph below by rewriting it. Convey the essence of this paragraph using 21 words–fewer if you can. Ready, go!
The subsequent chapters then will focus in great detail on each of the steps to make sure you know how to accomplish each step before proceeding to the next step and how to measure whether or not you are ready to move to the next step.
Whack Wordiness Exercise #2
Your next (and more meaningful) assignment is this:
Dig out a page or two of your own writing and pick the longest paragraph you’ve written. Count the number of words in that paragraph and then rewrite it completely, reducing that number by a third, even half. Ensure you keep the meaning intact while making each word carry its own weight.
Send me the results of either assignment or both (email both the before/after writings or post them in this blog) and you’ll receive direct feedback from me.
Give it a whack! And share what you’ve learned here.