Many writing projects come with a word count. Blog posts, articles, brochures, and websites typically leave room for an expected text length. If someone likes to write, they have no problem filling the space. If someone struggles to write long-form content, they may find themselves padding the space with less-than-stellar writing. As a web content editor, I challenge my clients to write 10% more than they need.
It’s actually something I blame on teachers. Writing assignments in grade school often focus on the length of the content and not the quality of content. This tends to train people to say things in less precise ways.
The end result?
Many of the documents that land on my desk express ideas in a round-about manner. So, I cut out the fluff. I skewer the strange sentences. When I hand the document back, it’s usually significantly shorter than what the client originally wrote (nearly 10% shorter).
To avoid annoyance, I encourage people to write 10% more than the required text length. Then, go back and cut out the weakest parts.
Things to Cut From Your Writing
- Extra Adjectives and adverbs: Cut all the adverbs and adjectives that you can and replace them with stronger verbs or nouns.
- Passive Voice: Replace passive voice with active voice.
- Incomplete Comparisons: Writers often use comparison (-er) adjectives without adding what they are comparing to. Either add something or remove the statement.
- “Facts” without reliable sources or references: I make people remove “facts” or “statistics” if they can’t source it properly.
- Out-of-place thoughts and tangents: Sometimes, what makes sense to you simply confuses a reader.
Overall, this forces people to really think through their points. They usually have to find more sources and research deeper. Often, they rework their thoughts to fill the space with something worthy of the word count.
Writing Style Tips
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll appreciate my other articles about writing and communication. As a web content editor, I often write about communication, psychology, and other creative topics. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to be the first to know when new content drops.