Recently I read a piece that compared a good writer to a sculptor. A sculptor cuts away what’s useless to make her piece more expressive. So it should be with good writing. You need to cut away the useless stuff to make your words count.

In writing, as in all art, ‘less is more’.

Let’s look at 12 Simple Ways To Make Your Words Count

1. Use graphic and not abstract words. For example, don’t say ‘vehicle’ when you could say ‘car’ or ‘animal’ when you could say ‘tiger’.

2. Use one syllable words rather than two syllable words, two syllable words rather than three, etc. Example: ‘blood, sweat and tears’ and not ‘sacrifice, perspiration, sorrow’.

3. Use the active voice rather than the passive. For example, not ‘The cake was eaten by me’, but ‘I ate the cake’.

4. Lean on verbs and nouns, reduce adjectives and adverbs. Choose the strong graphic verbs. For example, ‘She wrestled with the problem’. A well-chosen verb makes an adverb unnecessary.

5. Make each word count. Edit ruthlessly. Don’t use two words where one is enough.

6. Keep sentences short. Brevity and clarity are key.

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7. Concentrate on paragraph development. One paragraph, one idea. Clear writing comes from clear writing.

8. Relate the experience to your readers. For example, when writing for fishermen, then refer to nets, fish, wind, sea and sand.

9. Write, as Robert Gunning says, not to impress, but to express.

10. Be reader oriented. The reader’s interest tires quickly. Be personal.

11. Writing is hard work. You have no tone or gesture to help you. ‘Good sentences are not written, they are rewritten.’

12. Every language has its own music. Read your work aloud to see whether it has the correct feel.

This post is inspired by Robert Gunning’s book – The Technique of Clear Writing

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#FridayReflections

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Write Tribe give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

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 ‘Write Tribe

 Prompts for this week:

Prompts for 18th November:
1. 5 hobbies and why you love them
2. Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time
3. Describe your relationship with your parents. Has it changed? For better or worse?
4. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” – Bernard M. Baruch. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one.
5. Picture Prompt (copyright Living my Imperfect Life)

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Published by corinnerodrigues

A lover of words. A self-acceptance blogger. A blogging coach. A book reviewer. A woman happily journeying through midlife, moving from self-improvement to self-acceptance and enjoying being herself. Corinne writes at Everyday Gyaan, reviews fiction at CorinneRodrigues.com and encourages writers and bloggers at Write Tribe and offers offline coaching to writers and bloggers at The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India.

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  1. Writing short sentences is definitely a winner for me….When I was in school, my mom always encouraged me to write short sentences. Longer sentences are effective only if the command on the language is flawless.

  2. Interesting tips Corinne! I am trying to shorten my sentences of late. I used to write really long sentences before, now I understand shorter is better.
    Yes! The active voice actually helps in getting reader connect more than passive words.