There’s an art to words. There’s a strength to them, a mystical value that can at once impart an opinion and control another. But it’s a careful craft. And if you want to express yourself properly, then you need to understand the value of ‘less is more’.
There’s an easy rule to follow when it comes to content production: simple writing is better writing. It’s possible to ramble on for thousands of words about a single point, but internet users don’t have the attention span necessary for such aimless navel-gazing. By using fewer words you can say so much more. This means that the most important thing to learn about good writing is in fact good editing.
Remove Unnecessary Words
Writers might find it hard to separate themselves from the text. That’s how the structure and content of the sentence was conceived, how can there be an alternative? Well, there’s almost always some way of reducing a sentence down to its core essence.
The thing to remember is to remove anything that doesn’t in some way provide value to your meaning. This might mean deleting some flowery, creative language that you’re especially proud of. If it doesn’t enhance your meaning, then it is essentially superfluous.
Of course there is a balance to this, but while editing your work consider each and every word you’ve used. Are there any words that don’t provide value? Are there any that aren’t needed? Delete those.
Simple Is Enough
You might well understand that ‘jubilance’ is a synonym for ‘happiness’ or that ‘prodigious’ is equal to ‘huge’, but that doesn’t mean your reader does. Keep the language simple.
Think of it this way: writing is all about presenting an idea and convincing the reader to your way of thinking. Use language that has no barriers or doesn’t require the reader to stop and learn a new word. This will maximize the number of people that can follow the point you’re expressing.
The Power of Short Sentences
The longer a sentence runs on, the harder it is to follow. While good writing can be achieved with text that tumbles on and on, knowing when to give the reader a break will help them to understand your message.
It’s important to balance this though. Too many short sentences will read too hesitant, affecting the flow of the writing. Interspersing short sentences within longer ones adds creative flair and strengthens important points. Short sentences have the strongest impact.
Learning this is challenging since there is no one to tell you right from wrong. There are some tricks, though. Microsoft Word can provide statistics and a Flesch-Kincaid readability grade for the article, for example. There’s also the Hemingway Editor that will pinpoint specific issues in your article.
Consider Using Bullet Points
Being smart about the amount of words you use in a sentence, paragraph, or article is crucial. Yet there are times where you might want to consider using a bullet point list to express your points. If you’ve a long list of items you want to discuss, for instance, then separate these into individual lines and it’ll become so much easier to read.
But this is helpful outside of readability, too. A bullet point list is useful because:
- Each list entry is separate and therefore has equal importance.
- Sentences are shorter for greater clarity.
- They split the page up, acting as visual breaks for the reader.
- The content is easier to find when scrolling through.
Ultimately, there’s only one thing to take away from all this: keep your writing simple, keep it concise, and keep it easy to read.