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Conscious Writers Cut the Clutter

Last updated 2 years ago

Want to Become a Confident Writer? Be a Conscious Writer. Paying close attention to the meaning and impact of the words we use is the key to powerful writing.

Many of us fall into the habit of using patterns that make our writing less effective then it could be. Here are two ways to make conscious choices on your path to becoming a better wordsmith:

Avoid Repeating Yourself
If you take the time to see what your words actually say, you may notice that some of them duplicate the meaning of others.
If you write, "The house is surrounded on all sides by trees," the words "on all sides" are redundant. The word "surrounded" means "on all sides."
Instead, write: "The house is surrounded by trees." The meaning is clear, and the writing is clean.

More examples:

  • "See the following list below."  =  "See the list below." or "See the following list."
  • over-exaggerate  =  exaggerate

You'll find many lists of redundant words and phrases online.

Use Only What You Need
Are you a writer of few words? Or do you use too many words? If you have the habit of adding verbs like make, give, have, do, let, or take to your sentences, your writing could probably use a trim!

Instead of writing, "The policeman gave a signal for him to stop," say:
"The policeman signaled for him to stop."

More examples:

  • It let out a loud roar. = It roared.
  • He made an attempt to calm the protesters. = He attempted to calm the protesters.
  • They took the opportunity to eat at Katrina's Café. = They ate at Katrina's Café.

Keep clutter in mind when you write this summer. Read your words carefully with an eye to spotting repetition and unnecessary verbs. The practice will sharpen your writing and strengthen your skills!

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