How to Make Your Writing More Powerful

How to Make Your Writing More Powerful

TIP: Don’t insert yourself into the content unless it’s relevant. The revision eliminated the weasel phrases of “with all due respect” and “that being said” without changing the meaning. TIP: Write what you mean. Exercise 4: Question “to be” Original When you are forced to write succinctly, you do it. Revised When forced to write succinctly, you do it. TIP: It can be difficult to write without using “to be” or a form of passive voice. Then go through the content and revise to only use active voice. Exercise 5: Cut prepositions Don’t attempt every exercise at the same time. If you write less frequently, pick one exercise a month.

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Digital media fostered a generation of lazy writing.

Unlike printed publications – where space is finite – digital platforms have infinite space. The format doesn’t force writers to edit. (Twitter’s character limit is an exception. Anyone who has crafted a lengthy tweet then revised to fit within the expanded 280 characters understands.) To keep skills sharp, writers must do writing workouts.

Ready to grow your writing muscles? Do this five-exercise workout.

Exercise 1: Limit “I” and “we”

ORIGINAL:

In this article, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, but I will detail how to build a content marketing program that I know will produce great results.

REVISED:

Without reinventing the wheel, I will detail how to build a content marketing program that will produce great results.

What changed? The revised sentence includes only one first-person reference rather than the original three. Yet, the revision still reflects the author’s opinion.

Why? Studies show that people are more likely to perceive people who use multiple first-person references as less confident and less assured, or worse, suffering and self-conscious.

Those findings come from research led by University of Texas at Austin’s James W. Pennebaker, who penned The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us.

TIP: Don’t insert yourself into the content unless it’s relevant. If you’re part of the story, you don’t need to use “I” and “me” a lot. The reader should be able to tell it’s your story through the broader exposition.

Exercise 2: Hunt for weasels

ORIGINAL

With all due respect, ABC Cakes believes healthy living requires the occasional sweet treat. That being said, the mini cupcakes make an excellent choice.

REVISED

ABC Cakes believes healthy living requires the occasional sweet treat. Mini cupcakes make an excellent choice.

What changed? The revision eliminated the weasel phrases of “with all due respect” and “that being said” without changing the meaning.

Why? “Weasel words are used when the speaker wants to make it seem like they’ve given a clear answer to a question or made a direct statement, when actually they’ve said something inconclusive or vague,” writes Leslie Ye…

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