Edit Like an Editor

potteryThe job of editing is equal parts art and science, anchored in the golden rule of “eliminate unnecessary words.”

If you’re writing for yourself, in a journal perhaps, your first draft can be your final draft. When writing for readers, it’s a different story. In this case, your first draft is rich, raw clay. Unshaped. Unrefined. In need of paring down.

Crisp and clear DOESN’T mean boring or without personality or color. It means that words that slow down the pace, don’t add meaning or take away your authority should be reconsidered.

Here are words and phrases to look out for:

Slow down the pace

– One of the…
– Each and every…
– In order to… (try replacing with “to”)

Take away impact or authority

– In my opinion… or I believe… (rephrase to a sentence of authority)
– Just

Crutch words that don’t add meaning

– Literally
– Basically
– Honestly
– Obviously
– Any word that you find you use repeatedly

Crisp, clear writing is easier to read. Easier to read content keeps readers engaged. Engaged readers take in your great work and share their new findings with the world. Everyone wins!