ten easy ways to strengthen your writing
I'm in the business of making every word count. I also help others make their words count, too, and in leading people on this journey, I fully understand the challenges of writing (and grammar rules).
Let's tackle a few together.
These few helpful tidbits will strengthen your writing immediately!
Remember - concise is key. Knowing concise is key, there are words you should remove from your work to facilitate clarity.
Many of the words you use typically have a replacement with a shorter alternative.
That: After a verb of attribution (said, stated, announced), the word “that” often can be omitted with no loss of meaning. For example: "He said that he was tired." No need for "that." Omit! In short - if the sentence does not change meaning by removing "that," remove it!
In my opinion: If you're writing a reflection piece or opinion piece, phrases such as "in my opinion," "I believe," "I suggest," or "I think" are useless. The reader knows it's your opinion because it's your opinion piece. Remove!
During the course of: Reduce this to "during." It's that simple.
Honestly: Remove this altogether. If you're writing a piece, the reader assumes each word is coming from an honest place—no need to reiterate.
In order to: Reduce to "to."
In the midst of: Reduce to amid. "In the midst of" is extremely wordy.
Really: Really is useful... sometimes; however, "really" is a strong sign that you need strong adjectives. For example, instead of saying "really smart," say "intelligent." A good adjective stands on its own. The same goes for the word "very." Very brave should be courageous. Very cute should be beautiful or handsome.
For the duration of: Reduce to throughout.
And so forth: Unless you plan to list the other items and continue the sentence, remove "and so forth." This is unnecessary.
Just: If you are talking about whether or not something is just, use the word. Otherwise, this word is a filler.
Check out the paragraph below. I created a few sentences using the above-mentioned words. Then, I created a second paragraph with those sentences but in a cleaned-up version.
In my opinion, people just don’t usually mature in the midst of high school years. In order to grow during the course of high school, people should really read as much as they can, meet new people, join clubs, and so forth. For the duration of those four years, I suggest that students to keep an open mind and that they think really hard about their decisions.
Look at how your writing levels up in paragraph #2:
People don’t usually mature amid high school years. To grow during high school, people should read often, meet new people, and join clubs. During those four years, students should keep an open mind and think hard about their decisions.
Paragraph #2 is clear, concise, and fluid. No fluff. The point is made and received. There is a mature, authoritative tone, unlike paragraph #1, which is wordy and a bit juvenile in certain spots.
Big difference, right?
Get your write on, the right way! More writing tips are on the way in the future, so stay tuned.