Posted in Writing craft, Writing Nonfiction

5 Tips for Tightening Your Writing

Seventeenth-century philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote the following:

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

Clearly, he had an innate sense that tight writing takes time―and is preferable in many ways. The concept of “writing tightly” is one that all writers have to come to terms with at some point in a writing career. The reason this is so important is simple: tight writing is more likely to be published.

When an editor tells you that you need to tighten your writing, what does that mean? If you think it means to trim your narrative of all unnecessary words and phrases, then you’d be right.

Tight writing is important because it compels the reader through your copy, whether it’s your book, feature article, blog post, or advertising copy. Loose, wordy writing slows the forward motion of the story and bores readers.

In this week’s video, I explain my five tips.

Tips summarized:

  1. Use fewer prepositional phrases.
  2. Eliminate filler words.
  3. Use strong stand-alone words instead of weak words padded by adverbs.
  4. Remove redundancies.
  5. Read everything you write out loud and listen to it carefully.

Some extra resources for you:

Common Redundancies in the English Language

Linda Alley. Why Tight Writing is Not Just for Journalists.


Reading, writing & publishing. Doing things differently.

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