Cut Like an Editor

Yesterday I told you the tale of the DJ whose marketing promo was filled with text that, sadly, potential customers likely would never get through.

I promised a tip on how to ruthlessly cut words like an editor. I’m going to give you three instead.

The way to do it is to remember that you’re really the person who cares the most about what you’ve written. Nobody else is going to read your words like you do, no matter the¬†blood, sweat and tears you put into them.

So either they’re going to do it, and possibly get the wrong message. Or you’re going to do it so they get a clear and concise message, the message you want to send them anyway, right?

First things first, go through and cut all the words that don’t mean anything. If, like, it totally and absolutely doesn’t, like, MEAN anything, it goes. This includes your modifiers, like “very” and your fillers like “just” and “only.” Oh and most “oh”s.

Second,¬†search for sentences that say something REALLY similar to another one. Cut the one you like least. And if you can’t choose because they both really sound so good and are kind of saying different things, cut the second one. Just do it.

And finally, because I like things in groups of threes, go through and search for all the phrases that seem a little longwinded. The ones that you kind of get lost in. Find one word, (OK maybe two or three) that say the same thing. You can use thesaurus.com to search. (Or Google, of course. Google knows everything after all, so don’t you think they know writing and editing?)

That’s it. Now go cut like you’re a surgeon removing the tumors that are keeping your words from living life to their fullest.

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