Clear Writing Highlights Strong Writing

You know what your messages are, but what can you do to be sure you are writing clearly?

Here are four quick tips:highlighter%20pen%20bmp

1)      Use short sentences and short paragraphs.

2)      Avoid jargon.

3)      Avoid having more than three prepositional phrases in a sentence.

4)      Use active voice.

When I work with writers they often think they are already doing this. Then I make them take out highlighters or colored pens. First, I ask them to highlight any sentence that is longer than one and a half lines. Next, I ask them to count how many sentences are in each paragraph and write that beside the paragraph.

With another highlighter they have to mark the prepositions. Any sentence that has three or more requires a rewrite. Another color is used to highlight every verb and then circle those which are passive. Again, those that are passive require a rewrite.

This exercise is frustrating for many, but once you begin doing it, you’ll find that your writing quickly improves and your editors will love your work.

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