Everyone these days is working out, hitting the gym, getting stronger and leaner. We’re watching what we eat and choosing healthy alternatives. If we can muscle up with our bodies, we should do it with our writing, too. Using efficient, powerful words makes our writing stronger, more assertive, and gets the point across without being wishy washy. The stronger your writing is, the more credibility you have as a writer. Whether you’re blogging for yourself or someone else, doing freelance work, or anything you else you may be working on, your writing should have the same strength and muscle that the people who work out every day have.
Follow these boot camp guidelines to muscle up your writing:
- Take out the wimpy words and use better alternatives. So many of us seem to love words like nice, a lot, reallyand great. Well, what do these words mean and can you find something better to replace them? Was the ceremonynice, or was it tender when the groom looked into the bride’s eyes as his own teared up? Think about this one,selling over 8 dozen cupcakes the first day tells us much more than just selling a lot of cupcakes. See the difference?
- Use the active voice! We know this; we were all taught it in English class, but how many times do we forget? Remember, the tone has more muscle when the subject is the one doing something than having it done to it. Example: Emily was told a secret. Who told her is the first thing we want to know—so tell us! Jake told Emily a secret. You get double the information in the same amount of words.
- Tighten it all up. Don’t begin your sentences with “There are…” or “It was…” Every single word should count, so instead of saying There are a lot of flowers in the garden, rephrase to Flowers fill the garden. The second example has less words and at the same time is stronger.
- Lose the adverbs. Instead of adding adverbs to your sentences, choose stronger, more specific verbs to show the action. Example: The puppy went quickly out the door is not as efficient and gives less information than The puppy escaped out the door or The puppy scrambled out the door, even The puppy ran out the door. Use the word that conveys your message. Adverbs also can be redundant, like He crawled slowly across the floor (crawling is already slow). Use strong verbs instead.
- Use imagery. Metaphors and analogies make things easy to understand (like working out and writing, right?). People can understand concepts easier when compared to something else. However, be careful not to get carried away with imagery when blogging or writing in a journalistic style; simplicity and efficiency is still important.
When writing, focus on how strong your words can be. Let them do the talking and get the point across. Leave out the filler and the fluff, and for quality content, use words with strength and muscles. No wimpy writing!