Writing well requires a significant amount of practice and energy. But as you hone this skill, you might find yourself developing bad habits.
Whether you’re struggling with writer’s block, finding the right images for your article, or trying to ensure you have enough links, identifying areas of waste helps you become an effective, more efficient writer.
Here are a few ways to cut down on wasted time and unnecessary text.
Reduce The Amount Of Filler Words
A common misconception is that verbose writing is a sign of being an authoritative and knowledgeable source. Unnecessary words, however, don’t achieve this goal. Instead, those filler words can repel a reader by being confusing or hard to read.
Avoid using too many adverbs, which are often words ending in -ly. Be aware of your word choice. Using a stronger, more specific word to describe what you’re writing about is more effective and less wasteful.
Organize Your Ideas
Without a plan, sitting in front of a computer screen or blank paper can be overwhelming. Any writing task can feel overwhelming when you’re starting from zero and need 2,000 words.
Organizing your ideas and how you’d like to structure your project saves you time and energy in your writing process. Utilize freewriting, brainstorming, and writing a rough draft as the first steps.
Create an outline as a roadmap for your writing. Break down your writing task into smaller sections for each main point. Under each section, write bullet points of the key information you’ll include, and include examples to support your statements. I’ve shared my outline in a previous post, but here it is again in case you’ve missed it.
Self Edit After Writing the Rough Draft
It’s easy to overanalyze every word and sentence as you write, editing each line after you type it. Although this stop-and-edit approach might result in a well-phrased sentence, it’s a waste of time and will only delay your progress.
Instead of editing line-by-line as you’re writing, proofread your writing after completing a rough draft. Reading your writing aloud also makes this self-editing step helpful and productive. If you read it out loud and it doesn’t flow naturally, then it needs to be edited to read the way humans speak.
Take a Break
When you’ve spent hours writing and your creativity tank is low, a brief time-out saves mental energy and fills up your creative tank. One method is the 90/20 rule. For every 90 minutes you work, take a 20-minute break. If that’s too much, then try 10 minutes of break time for every hour of work.
Define the writing objective you want to achieve and commit to a short block of interruption-free time where you’ll perform tasks toward that objective.
When the timer is up, take a break and do something enjoyable, like a 5-minute guided meditation or taking a short walk. Then reset your timer and repeat the process. This process will help to keep writer’s block at bay too. It’s not uncommon for me to get new ideas during my breaks.
Use Writing Apps and Online Tools
Self-editing and proofreading your written drafts is a valuable habit for becoming a better writer. As much as you read and edit your work, it’s easy to glaze over mistakes in your own writing.
Writing apps and AI-powered writing assistants like Grammarly help cut the time spent on reworking your writing and making necessary revisions.
Another online tool we really like is the Headline Studio from CoSchedule. This tool scores your headlines and offers suggestions to make them more impactful. All you have to do is type in your headline and click on the ‘analyze’ button. From there you will be given a score and suggestions for increasing that score. The goal is a score of 70 or above.
No matter how perfect you may think your writing has turned out, the tips described above will prove a useful stepping stone towards eliminating wordiness, being more specific & confident, and transforming your writing into an easier-to-read and understand masterpiece.
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