Tighten Up Your Writing

CatherineSubstitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.  ~Mark Twain

I love this quote. It’s so true.

Every single writer can tighten up their work. (And I include myself in this category.) Here are some ways you can improve your prose and stay sharp:

+ Have someone else read through your work and give you feedback. (Another writer is often a good choice.)

+ Find a good thesaurus. Use it.

+ Try to become aware of your habits as a writer. Any catch phrases you depend on or adjectives you use again and again should be pruned so that you aren’t repeating yourself all the time.

+ Ask yourself what you can eliminate. Writers have a tendency to think that more is better. Get rid of the excess and you will probably find that things read much more clearly.

+ Read critically. When you are reading someone’s writing, think about what you would tighten up. Magazine articles are ideal for this type of exercise.

Do you have any tips for tightening up your writing that you can share?