Short and sweet: Three tips to write tight


The Internet has given us many things – social media, online shopping and instantaneous news coverage. But, it’s also given writers a reading public with a dwindling attention span.

(Flickr: AlicePopkorn)

(Flickr: AlicePopkorn)

The result?

There simply isn’t the room for words on the page that there used to be.

If your editor is clamoring for “less,” consider the following tips for writing tight:

Prioritize what you want to say. Determine the most important aspects of your story and then choose just three of those talking points. For example – you have been asked to write a story on the benefits of starting your morning with a cup of coffee. Too many good things to count, right? Maybe. But, for the purposes of holding your audience captive, dial it down to just three reasons that coffee is great for you.

Prune your words. Ah, I know it’s painful. But, as professional writers, we must be willing let go of those filler words. You’d be amazed at how many you can toss. For example, a sentence that reads: “For those of you who love the beach, then Pismo Beach is a must-see destination,” can be easily trimmed to “Pismo Beach is a must-see destination for beach-lovers.” OK– you can keep a few gorgeous words, but toss the unnecessary ones.

Purge and purge some more. This may take a little time and that is understandable. Step away from your article for a few hours, maybe even a day. With a little distance, you may find that you’re ready to delete whatever phrases or sections that are not absolutely crucial to the piece in favor of a concise transition or curt phrase that tells the story.

Kerri S. Mabee is editor at Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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