As Mark Twain famously wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” His point? Strong writing is lean writing.
When you want to make your writing more powerful, cut out words you don’t need–such as the 10 included in this post:
1. Just: The word “just” is a filler word that weakens your writing. Removing it rarely affects meaning, but rather, the deletion tightens a sentence.
2. Really: Using the word “really” is an example of writing the way you talk. It’s a verbal emphasis that doesn’t translate perfectly into text. In conversation, people use the word frequently, but in written content it’s unnecessary. Think about the difference between saying a rock is “hard” and “really hard,” for example. What does the word add? Better to cut it out to make your message stronger.
3. Very: Everything that applies to “really” applies to “very.” It’s a weak word. Cut it.
4. Perhaps/maybe: Do you want your audience to think you’re uncertain about what you’re saying? When you use words like “maybe” and “perhaps,” uncertainty is exactly what you’re communicating.
5. Quite: When someone uses “quite,” he or she either means “a bit” or “completely” or “almost.” Sometimes the word adds meaning; sometimes it’s fluff. Learn to tell the difference–but, when in doubt, cut it out.
6. Amazing: The meaning of “amazing” is causing great wonder or surprise–but some writers use the word so often that the meaning gets lost. How can something be amazing if everything is? Ditch this diluted word.
7. Literally: When something is true in a literal sense, you don’t have to add the word “literally.” The only reason it makes sense to use the word is when it clarifies meaning (i.e., to explain you aren’t joking when it seems you are).
8. Stuff: Unless you are aiming at informality, don’t use the word “stuff.” It’s casual, it’s generic, and it usually stands in for something better.
9. Things: Writers use the word “things” to avoid using a clearer, more specific word that would communicate more meaning. Be specific. Don’t tell us about the “10 things,” tell us about the “10 books” or “10 strategies.” Specificity makes for better writing.
10. Got: Think of all the ways we use the vague word “got” in conversation: “I’ve got to go,” “I got a ball,” or “I got up this morning.” Though it’s fine for conversation, in writing, “got” misses valuable opportunities. Rather than writing a lazy word, look for clearer, more descriptive language: “I promised I’d leave by 9,” “I picked up a ball,” or “I woke up today,” for example.
Whether you’ve been writing for a few days or for many years, you’ll benefit from evaluating the words you use. Cut the filler to make your writing stronger.
I read this post this morning and is true and funny.
We should always be ourselves and not live our lives by others.
The point being is to live your life for you.
Not to impress others.
By May June
Our society is full of artificial norms and fake standards. Whatever is attractive is whatever you’re not. Whatever is normal is whatever you’re not. Whatever is popular is whatever you’re not. Whatever is ideal is whatever is impossible.
Despite this, people are going to judge. You can’t stop them. But you can stop caring. Instead of worrying what others are going to think, embrace your quirks and guilty pleasures.
Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and screw the haters. You should never have to start a sentence with, “No judgment, but…”
Be unique. Be spontaneous. Be free. If you’re not going to be you, then who will?
To get you started, here are 8 things you should embrace and never have to hide. Enjoy!
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Do not blame others if they want to.
Image credit: WasabiDoobie
Photo by: Image WasabiDoobie
If you’ve ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed or been frustrated in rush hour traffic, you know that mornings can set the tone for the rest of the day. While the morning is comprised of several hours, Hillary Rettig, a productivity coach for entrepreneurs and author of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific (Infinite Art, 2011) says the way you spend the first 15 minutes could make or break you.
“For many people, the morning holds our freshest, most energetic hours,” Rettig says. “Good time managers value ever smaller amounts of time. Those first few minutes of your day – both at home and when you get to the office – are vital.”
Doing low-value work during this precious time can put your day off course. Here are five things you may be doing in the morning that will sabotage your productivity:
1. Going online. Checking email or social media when you wake up is a common way to start the day, but those few minutes you think you’ll spend online often turn into an hour or more. Rettig suggests staying offline until 10 a.m.
“It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of the Internet,” Rettig says. “Protect the morning for the work that’s important to you, then be available for others later in the day.”
2. Turning on the television. For many people, the morning routine looks like this: Take a shower. Watch some TV. Eat breakfast. Watch some TV. Walk the dog. Watch some TV.
“The television stretches out our morning ritual and distracts us from our mission,” Rettig says. “Don’t get anesthetized by the TV – leave it off.”
If you need background noise, she says music on the radio is better. Save talk radio for your morning commute.
3. Skipping a workout. Procrastination begins in the body, says Rettig, and deskwork helps foster it. Morning exercise gets the blood flowing and makes you more alert. If you don’t like to sweat or can’t fit in a long routine, simply start your day by stretching, twisting or dancing.
“It’s important to work out the stiffness in the body, especially if you sit all day,” she says.
4. Answering the phone. With caller ID, most of us have some idea who is calling when the phone rings. Unless you’re someone who handles crisis work or makes sales calls for a living, get the most out of your morning by turning off the phone, suggests Rettig.
“The phone can be highly interruptive,” she says, adding that even short calls can distract you and take you off track.
5. Tackling busy or dreaded work first. While it can be tempting to “warm up” your day with busy work or your least favorite tasks, Rettig says it’s a better idea to start with something important that’s likely to yield a positive outcome.
“For example, make the one or two sales calls you think are the most promising,” she says. “Accomplishments motivate you for the rest of the day.”