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How to be concise in your writing. (Because “Sorry for rambling” is BS.)

Nobody wants to read your wall of text.

“How can I be more concise in my writing?”

Everyone asks that.

Usually, the first key to being more concise is…making an effort to be concise.

Most people don’t try.

They just decide, “I’m not a concise person.” That’s like deciding you’re a late person. Decide not to be.

Look —

When someone pours out their heart (and business issues and debt situations and adrenal fatigue and legal troubles and spouse’s infidelities and career indecision and mercury-in-retrograde-attributed dishwasher malfunctions and other nuclear meltdowns) in an email, I’m grateful and honored that they want to confide in me. ⠀


But I gotta tell you, if it’s a long block of text — and these always end with “sorry for rambling,” — I’m gonna skim. ⠀


Or “keep as unread” for all eternity.⠀

It’s fine to pour it all out. All the ugly, that’s the good stuff.

But then, instead of asking someone to take all day to read your thing, how about YOU take the time to cut it down and make it nice and tight? Make it fun to read.

How to make it fun to read? Try these 5 things:

1- Take out unnecessary words. (Sometimes, those are whole blocks of words.)⠀

2 – Break it up with white space.⠀Make your paragraphs no more than 4 lines.

3 – Make it logical, if not linear, and compelling to read. Don’t repeat yourself. Each sentence should make us want to read the next one.

4 – Vary the lengths of your sentences.

5 – Use action verbs and concrete details, instead of passive verbs and vague, squishy terms.

Example of passive verbs and squishiness: “Oftentimes, I am extremely disempowered by trivial criticism spoken to me by acquaintances.”

Example of action verbs and details: “I curl into the fetal position if a co-worker so much as tells me to stop clicking my Bic pen.”

Whether it’s a blog post, a question in a Facebook group, or a private email, these are common courtesies.

BOTTOM LINE:

“Sorry for rambling” is like handing someone a slippery, raw chicken and saying, “Sorry for the raw chicken.”

OK, then don’t hand it to me! Cook it! Or keep it for yourself.⠀

Originally published at talkingshrimp.com

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