Does Your Writing Pass the $1-A-Word Test?

If you are looking for a quick and certain way of giving your words more impact, look no further than your purse or wallet.

Take a look at the last thing you wrote. It doesn’t matter if it’s a letter, email, report, newsletter, web content or promo script.

Look at it with a critical eye, and with this question in mind: “Am I prepared to pay $1 for every word I’ve written?”

Go through the script slowly. Strike out every word that isn’t working hard to convey meaning.

Make sure you use the active voice. ‘The man opened the door’ is active. ‘The door was opened by the man’ is passive (and two words longer than the active version). A $2 saving in one short sentence.

Look for any of those phrases that slip into our writing unbidden. ‘It’s my considered opinion’ is $3 more expensive than ‘I think’. ‘At this moment in time’ is a long-winded way of saying ‘Now’. Four more dollars saved.

Every word that’s not working hard is getting in the way. Every word you can strip out, without compromising meaning, enhances the impact of what’s left.

Neil Everton of Podium Media & Communications Coaching brings a lifetime’s international experience with some of the top news organizations in the world to his media skills workshops.