Streamline your writing style by keeping your language simple and placing your story center stage.
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple. — Jack Kerouac
As writers, words are our tools. The goal of any story, essay, or poem is to express something to the reader. If we choose words that are flimsy and vague, the story loses its potency. By cultivating a strong, sturdy vocabulary upon which we can build our tales, we make our voices that much more powerful.
Years ago, an English teacher of mine asked us to compare two sentences:
Which, he asked, was more gripping for readers? The entire class agreed that I thirst carried with it a sense of urgency and desperation. I’m thirsty meant the same thing, but it didn’t draw such a clear picture. By removing filler words and flowery language — as much as I’m a lover of floral embellishments in my own writing — the meaning of each statement is expressed in a way that is that much more clear and precise to the reader.
For inspiration this week, simplify. Crack out the (virtual) red pen and remove any extraneous language from your post. With each sentence, ask yourself: what would make it stronger? Apply a philosophy of minimalism to your language, whether it’s in a poem, essay, or personal blog post. Cut away the overgrowth and show us the heart of your message.
How do you go about streamlining your sentences? Are there any fillers you especially try to avoid?What tips do you have for editing and cutting down on embellishments?