Write Tight, Edit Tough | Top 10 Tips to Help You Write Tight and Edit Tough®

Top 10 Tips to Help You Write Tight and Edit Tough®

  1. Write not for yourself but for your reader, who craves brief, clear, to-the-point messages.
  2. Before you write one word of an email, know the following:
    What (is the message)?
    Why (am I writing this)?
    Who (am I writing it to)?
    Where (will this message be seen)?
    When (will it arrive)?
  3. Put the crux of an urgent email in the subject line.
    Re: Your presence required at New Business meeting Friday, 1:00 p.m.
  4. Use action verbs instead of “to be” verbs to ignite instant images in your reader’s brain.
    I ran here; I jogged here; I sauntered here; vs. I am here.
  5. Write in the active voice instead of the passive voice. It’s shorter. Faster. Stronger. More direct. More forceful.
    Mistakes were made. vs I made mistakes.
    The plan was approved. vs. We green-lighted the plan.
  6. Delete all qualifiers--just, a little, somewhat, I think, perhaps, maybe, of course—that diminish the power of a sentence.
  7. The job of adjectives and adverbs is to prop up weak nouns and verbs. Try to avoid them, unless they’re key descriptors: number, color, weight, age, gender.
  8. Edit as you go because it makes the final job easier.
  9. Every sentence in a paragraph should help develop that paragraph’s single idea.
  10. Finally, and most important. If it doesn’t have to go in, leave it out!