April 1

How many words do you need to trim out of your writing? and which words?

You can take my word for it, or about 3,000 books and articles about editing, but trimming needless words out of your own writing is one of the most essential skills to learn in improving your writing. But how many words should you trim and which ones?

If you want to learn how to improve your writing, the best possible method would be to watch an editor clean up your writing. The next best method would be to watch an editor clean up someone else’s writing.

But who would be willing to put their writing up on the Internet so an editor could video tape slicing and dicing their beautiful prose?

My clients, that’s who. My clients are awesome and generous and gracious.

So, today I offer you the opportunity to look over my shoulder as I edit an excerpt from a client’s real writing. I call it a quickie workshop, and today’s quickie workshop will be about trimming needless words.

In today’s quickie workshop video, we’re going to:

1. Unpack the editing principle and talk about what it really means to “trim needless words.”
2. Look over my shoulder as I trim needless words from an excerpt of real writing.
3. Discuss the primary reason for trimming words. It’s not about a reduced word count. It’s about connecting with your reader, both logically and emotionally.

Click here to start today’s quickie workshop:


1. Pull up one page (250 words) of your own writing.
2. Trim out some words, and keep count!
3. Post a comment below – how many words did you take out? How did you feel about trimming needless words from your own writing?


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