Welcome to With Less - a weekly newsletter dedicated to helping legal creatively do more with less.
I’m a huge fan of simplified writing. I have all their albums (bad joke, I know. I couldn’t help myself).
I constantly want to keep my writing sharp and concise. To avoid falling back into old and bad writing habits, I will at times revisit books and resources I’ve collected. I did this last week.
Let me share three writing traps I fall into and how to avoid them:
- Most of the time, ‘that’ is unnecessary in a sentence. It makes my writing wordy. I now have the habit of searching for ‘that’, reading the sentence with and without the ‘that’ and delete it unless it sacrifices meaning. So, take that!
- If a sentence looks too long, it usually is. To help break it apart into multiple shorter sentences, look for the ‘and’. Most often that ‘and’ is connecting two sentences. Finding the ‘and’ will give you a good place to put a full stop to one sentence and create another.
- Don’t use adverbs, like ‘very.’ For example, I could write, “The customer was very unhappy,” or, “The customer was unhappy.” Adverbs are bad because they typically modify weak articles. In this example, ‘unhappy’ is too weak to convey the emotion of the customer. The writing needs to be punched up. To do that, I would use words like ‘frustrated’, ‘furious’, or ‘disappointed.’
Have any writing tips to share with With Less readers? Reply to this email and just plunk in the tips.
Have a great rest of the week,