Professionally, I move words around on a screen. I have been lucky to do this for almost a decade. If you are located in Japan, you may have seen my work on TV or in the movies, on trains, on products, in PR, and wherever English words are found. If you are located overseas, you also may have seen my work, because of globalization.
The Review series features tips to improve your writing. As we spend more of our lives huddled over glowing screens, isolated from others, writing is increasingly important. Take a moment to consider these ideas for your words.
Short and Sweet
You are not James Joyce. You are not the next wave of New Journalism. Your sentence is not a song. Your words are not exquisite jewels that shine on a smartphone.
Make your writing short and sweet.
Each word represents a moment of your reader’s time. Respect it.
Do you need that intensifier? No, choose a more descriptive word. The ice cream is not very good. The ice cream is delicious.
Do you need that adverb? No, it is redundant. The product was not newly introduced on Friday. The product was introduced on Friday.
Do you need that clump of prepositions? No, make the verb do the work. The hiker did not go up to the top of Mt. Fuji. The hiker summited Mt. Fuji.
Do you need that idiomatic expression from your hometown? No, it is confusing. Eating cucumber sandwiches at afternoon tea does not make one feel like a hawk on a holiday. Eating cucumber sandwiches at afternoon tea is delightful.
Respect your reader. Be brief, become beloved.