I love tight prose. Hence the name of this blog, this website, and my business.
Tight writing is concise, clear, and wastes no time making its point. If you write for busy customers (everyone these days), they will appreciate well crafted messages that quickly give them the information they need.
Despite what you may have heard, writing tight isn’t difficult. All it takes is learning some simple techniques, attention to your message, and practice. This isn’t just for full-time writers, either. Maybe you’re a mid-level manager, for example, and have to write quarterly reports on your section’s performance. You want to make sure your people get the kudos they deserve, and that your higher-ups have a thorough appreciation of how your section has fulfilled its sales goals. You need those messages to come through loud and clear.
But we’re not talking just major writing projects here. Every little scrap of your writing, even those that might seem insignificant, can benefit from careful thought about what you’re saying.
I received a good example of this today, in a simple email from my credit card company. The only part of the subject line that I could see in my Outlook inbox preview was “Account alert: Your…” Because of the word “alert,” I went into panic mode, because I had paid the bill earlier that day–what was wrong? Turns out, nothing. The email simply acknowledged that the company had received my payment. The word “alert” in the subject line sent the wrong messsage.
So in this blog we’ll take a look at a wide variety of strategies for tightening your writing to maximize its impact. But don’t worry–we’ll keep it fun, and I promise not to geek out too much on obscure points of grammar. Even better–you, my readers, have my permission to call me out when I get too technical and obscure. I hope for this blog to be like the classes I taught to junior writers in my previous career: interactive discussions where we all (me included) learn something.
My previous career? I wrote for senior executives and policymakers at the top levels of the U.S. government. More in my next blog post! In the meantime, please let me know in the comments what topics you’d like to see me