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Andy Brandt Jan 09, You have come perilously close to breaking a rule for guest bloggers, Shane: Always good to throw in an error to make them look good. David Gillaspie Jan 09, You made me laugh though. Alicia Rades Jan 09, I hope you will strengthen your writing by using less of them. Cathy Miller Jan 23, Donna Jan 09, Great blog — thanks! As I was reading, something struck me.

The emphasis should be on the love of the writing itself and not the constraint of word count. Tom Bentley Jan 09, I think you need to have a slam poetry session with Grammar Girl and record it for posterity.

Read the first book. Need to get the second. Lori Ferguson Jan 09, Thx for taking the time to share, Shane! You are most welcome. Krista Low Jan 09, Thank you for the useful edits! Cutting out unnecessary words can be daunting. I just printed out your post for a quick reference.

Once these editing tips are under your belt, you can get back to enjoying the good things in life. Nick Jan 09, Rayne Jan 09, Shane, If you were a baseball pitcher your post was a fastball right down the middle, the pitch everyone swings at but few hit. As long as the writers reading this post are the fans watching the game and not the people trying to hit the ball, because we want them to hit it out of the park!

Esther Jan 09, Thank you Shane for clarifying how important editing is. I did not realize that a post was not done until it was edited until I came into the Boost Blog Traffic course. Ray Jan 09, Flense the flabby words, expunge adverbs and adjectives, tighten your prose and fight for your own brand of punctuation — standard stuff, and sound advice, as far as it goes.

There is a formula of sorts to writing, but that formula should always be framed in terms of principles, and not concretes. This method of teaching ignores the method by which the human mind works — which is to say, in principles — and chooses instead to overload the brain with endless commands that come without explication of fundamentals.

The people who memorize and compile these laundry lists, however, do not, for the most part, write durable literature. Man, that was an excellent comment you left. I try to limit what I do to techniques that state what needs stated in as few words as possible to keep the modern busy reader from bolting.

Definitely not overly proscriptive. Vicky Global Jan 09, I am guilty of this. I would guess that most of the time, time is the reason for not finding the appropriate word. Mitch Mitchell Jan 09, Other times… I need to be better. Mitch and his commas!

Dr Rie Natalenko Jan 09, I always thought my editing was okay, but you have some tricks here that will make it shine even brighter. I now know who to visit when I need some screenwriting tips. Siita Jan 09, Thanks Shane perfect timing. Shannon Hutcheson Jan 09, This is such a fantastic resource! I am looking forward to sharing this with authors I copy edit.

Susanna Perkins Jan 09, My niche is already too competitive, and if you keep teaching people to write more simply, clearly and powerfully, you take away what little edge I have. Whose idea was this, anyway? Mark Hermann Jan 09, Okay, you just made me bust out laughing.

Checking to see if tightduckediting url is available. Christine Jan 09, Oh, so guilty of so many points here! Must go back and edit older posts but while trying to keep my voice intact. Writing is so hard, remind me why we do it, please. Rob Jan 09, I embarrass myself every day when editing my work.

Nothing to be embarrassed about. Our drafts should be a creative flow free from the constraints of our editor brains. Eva Jan 09, This is just great! Arijit Jan 10, This is probably one of the best articles I have read on writing compelling content! I will be keeping this as a guide for everything that I write from now.. Thanks a lot Shane! Time for me to share this post!

Beat Schindler Jan 10, Great post for writers seeking to be better writers — I should know: Pruning and trimming are not an end to growth, but redirecting the way of growth. I like your pruning analogy. The only thing I love more than editing is gardening. West wishes back to you.

Thank you for sharing your expertise in such a clear and effective way. Les Jan 10, Really enjoyed how you chased the little rabbits out the fields!

Enlightening, in lightning quick style…. Tresidder Jan 10, My writing has never been the same. Thanks for the great resource! You are the king of concise prose. He sees bigger-picture flaws that I miss. Charlie Seymour Jr Jan 10, It takes all the action out of a sentence. Almost like passive voice.

Nawaz Jan 10, Catherine Jan 10, A checklist is especially helpful when writing and editing late at night on deadline. Thanks for the useful post! Pat Mathias Jan 10, I took an editing course in college and believe I was the only one with a big smile on my face because I love editing!

However, I really like how you simplified it all and gave great examples. Thank you for another great reference tool. Hello fellow lover of the edit! A crossword puzzle is a great analogy of what editing feels like.

Liss Thomas Jan 10, My bestest buddy giving awesome advice. I got no excuses! Glad to see you again after so long. Let me know if you find anything in your writing that you improved.

Editing old, error-filled posts would send me to twilight zone, for sure. Proofreading, editing hundreds is no joke, eh. May not feel like it, but you will. Amy Jan 10, Thank you, Shane and Jon!

The way you set it up made me want to read all the way to the end. Brenda Spandrio Jan 10, I loved the graphic opening of this post; great way to illustrate the point! However, I will be more conscious of fillers after reading this. I wrote an article for Copyblogger about proofreading and I did something similar in the opening link is in the article above. I knew I wanted to do something similar to drive the point home in this post.

Go glad you appreciated that. Dean Jan 11, Hermit Jan 11, Ana Jan 11, So far every piece I read brought outstanding value. Thank you for your work! Stan Eigi Jan 12, Shane Arthur Jan 12, Katharine Jan 13, The strikethrough introduction completely grabbed my attention. It worked like a film trailer and precisely communicated what would follow. What a relief to find clarity online, first thing this morning! Shane Arthur Jan 13, Exactly the type of comment I love to read.

Glad you enjoyed it. Maciej Fita Jan 13, Formatting is so important! I try to use rich media in every blog post I put together to keep the reader engaged throughout their reading experience.

I may only do one of these. Just had a crazy thought to try it. First come, first served. Rob Jan 13, Thanks for the offer.

Shane Arthur Jan 14, Then a young woman walks up to the man, takes his sign and writes another message. Soon, just about everyone who passes by is giving [gives] the man pocketfuls of change. The girl returns later and the man asks her what she did to his sign. That, in a nutshell, is the secret to writing powerful words. As I proofread this short blog, I made a small change I think helped improve the text. What can you do to make a better connection [nominalization — connect more or better connect] with your readers?

Rob Jan 14, Thanks so much for making these corrections! Some seemed like little things, but your changes made the text read more smoothly.

Penelope Jan 14, Jaanika Jan 14, I would have settled or silver or bronze. John Guanci Jan 14, The hardest part for me is getting the thoughts out of my head and onto the computer. I think the reason is that I tend to overanalyze and pay too much attention to how the words flow before I even hit the keys!

Get your ideas down first, worry about structure later. Editing should be the fun part. Seriously, train your writer brain to ignore all instructions while writing. LittleOwlCrunchyMomma Jan 14, Shane Arthur Jan 15, Greg Jan 14, Wonderful tips and suggestions.

Karyn with a Y Jan 14, Carole Rustic Artistry Jan 15, The entire opening section reminded me of similar tips and suggestions that Henneke Duistermatt makes on her wonderful blog, http: Readers who found this post helpful should definitely check it out. Shane Arthur Jan 16, Hi Shane, Your 7 points great article is like 7wonders for me. Keep coming with nice write up often as usual so that we can be educated through every masterstrokes of yours. Perhaps a list post of the flabby words and phrases I have on file.

Kathy H Porter Jan 16, Hi Shane — loved the fact that you visually edited the first 18 lines of this post. When I taught writing, I came up with a few tips for my students. And, for those pesky spelling errors? If I may, one last comment: Thanks for allowing me this trip down memory lane. I agree with your advice, especially about writing poetry. I love that form. Nice that you like my homepage copy, Shane. A techie I will never be. Ash Jan 17, The secret to your brilliant word-smithing on my guest blogging submissions has now been revealed.

Shane Arthur Jan 18, Robert van Tongeren Jan 18, Shane, so good to see you on this blog. Your edits in the guestblogging forum have had such a huge impact on my writing.

So I love this post. I recently created a note in Evernote with a couple of words I could copy and paste into the find functionality to quickly spot points of improvement in my text. Shane Arthur Jan 21, Ryan Biddulph Jan 19, Shalonda Gordon Jan 19, The post you have created here is life-changing for me.

As editing is something I neither understood or could accomplish without some assistance. Honestly I deserve to read it a few more times in order to obtain complete understanding.. Comments like yours will indeed keep me smiling. So glad you appreciated it. Emmeline Jan 20, I have pared it down into a checklist that people who have studied English grammar will understand:.

Have you used… 1. Do you need it? The present continuous, or a phrasal verb? Could you replace it with a plain verb? Can you find another one? A negative description, eg.

Can you put it positively? Weak verbs with nouns? Can you use those nouns as verbs? Alcohol is the cause of hangovers — Alcohol causes hangovers. Mohita Nagpal Jan 28, I am guilty of many of the writing sins you pointed out. I tend to overdo the there, here and it business. You might want to edit this sentence.

Shane Arthur Jan 28, I agree with you. Stephen Anderson Jan 28, Thank you for a great post, Shane. Mark Jan 28, Shane Arthur Jan 30, MartinRobert Mar 10, Lee Germeroth Mar 14, Manuscriptedit Apr 01, Thanks for this valuable information and all the guidelines you provided. I really appreciate it. Stine Halmind Apr 25, Thanks for some really specific, useful tips! I guess your writing style also depends on your audience, theme, language!

Kim May 28, Mary Ann Carreon May 30, Helen Dewdney Jun 20, As a huge waffler this is going to help no end. DiamondDenisa Aug 01, Jay Croft Aug 13, JP Ryder Aug 17, I just went over one of my emails and massively improved it by following your advice.

I like to write but I was making quite a few of the mistakes you outlined above. Sanjay Sajeev Sep 15, I agree to all your points. I wrote many contents using grammar expletives. But now, i learned to write a content without these boring grammar expletives.

Keep writing this type articles. Loshon Sep 24, I want to improve my writing skills. Can you recommend any good books?

Thank you in advance for your feedback. Shane Arthur Sep 25, Shane Arthur Nov 01, You just wrote two sentences without capitalizing the first words of each. Is that part of your non-suck method?

Have you been hacked? The whois data of your comment should help us determine this. Laurenmaaria Dec 03, Margaux Daughtry Dec 12, Am I the only one who read this and cried?

Wait…I read this and cried…. I have work to do! Shane Arthur Jan 05, RK Dec 22, IMO, blanket editing rules are quite dangerous to writers, especially inexperienced ones. Shane Arthur Dec 22, So, although we may list these tips as rules, you can view them as suggestions. Sandi Clifford Dec 30, I already edited that sentence having committed two infractions. I guess that word post I wrote last night will become quite easily now. Hema Unnoop Jan 05, Will save and get a print.

No time to waste. Going back to my old posts: Des Gray Jan 06, Hey Shane, thanks — one hell of a post. I read every word, including comments. Essential copy checklist — even better on the second read. Shane Arthur Jan 17, Charlotte Jan 17, Gupta Jan 29, Shane Arthur Feb 24, Alyce J Jan 31, Domain Feb 19, Vishnu Feb 19, Loved the way you elaborated with examples. Tim Fehraydinov Feb 20, English is not my native language, so these tips are especially useful to me as a blogger. Muhammad Touqeer Feb 24, Shazma Khan Feb 26, Lovely post and great comments….

Shane Arthur Feb 26, Erik Mar 16, But learning to produce amazing content for your readers, while optimizing for search engines at the same time, is a necessary process to master. I like your suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of your writing, by simply editing some words leaving the same meaning. Thanks for sharing your insights!

The final step is to edit your work down. Yes, chop some of those words, sentences, and paragraphs. I know, I know—killing babies. But this will help make sure that the true meat of your piece is what shines. Quick little grammar refresher: When in doubt, find a verb that says it better. During my freshman year of college, I got a B on a kick-ass paper.

Upset, I asked my professor to explain his obviously flawed grading system. He said I was downgraded because I repeatedly used phrases like "seems to be" and "it appears. That advice stuck with me, and you should pay attention to it, too, especially when your career is in play.

Caroline McMillan is a Charlotte, N. She graduated from the journalism school at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent her last two years of college as the editor in chief of Rival Magazine, a joint publication between Duke University and UNC.

She loves Tar Heel basketball, french-press coffee, making to-do lists and buying more books than her shelves can hold. If you need a little help with this, here are some tips: Avoid the Overuse of Subordinate Clauses Quick little grammar refresher: More from this Author.


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