Several people commented specifically on tip #10: Keep it Short from my “20 Tips for Good Blogging” article. They remarked that it’s difficult to keep posts to 300 words, and that word limit is perhaps too strict.
But I stick with my original advice to keep it short. Most successful blogs stick to a tight word count.
It may seem a difficult target, at first. But as most good editors and journalists know, you have to train yourself to be economical with your word choices.
I’m a fan of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White and I recommend this classic language and style guide to anyone who wants to be a better blogger, because it really gets to the core of how to write tight. Every time I’m tempted to insert an adverb or adjective in my own writing, I look down at my Strunk & White tattoo and reconsider.
Here’s an excerpt from The Elements of Style (4th edition) by Strunk & White:
Do not overwrite
Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating. If the sickly-sweet word, the overblown phrase are your natural form of expression, as is sometimes the case, you will have to compensate for it by a show of vigor, and by writing something as meritorious as the Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.
When writing with a computer, you must guard against wordiness. The click and flow of a word processor can be seductive, and you may find yourself adding a few unnecessary words or even a whole passage just to experience the pleasure of running your fingers over the keyboard and watching your words appear on the screen. It is always a good idea to reread your writing later and ruthlessly delete the excess.
Don’t you love it when language style gurus get all smart-alecky? But this passage makes the point well.
Take a hard look at your last post and examine it for wordiness:
• Are there unnecessary adjectives and adverbs?
• Are there redundancies?
• Are there words that you wouldn’t naturally use in conversation?
Be ruthless. Cut down your wordiness. It will make your post more concise and readable and that’s essential to good blogging. Good writing = Good blogging.
Today’s question: Are you a wordy blogger? Please share here. It’s good to share.
And join me tomorrow when I attempt to edit a wordy post from a fellow WD blogger (guess who) down to 300 words.
P.S. WordPress and Blogger are running a tight race in the Best Blog Software for Writers Poll (below). I’m going to leave the poll open and I hope to announce a winner soon.