Episode 23: Tips for Tighter, More Powerful Writing

In which Robynne and Jane talk about how to make your writing as tight, clean, focused and powerful as possible. Jane admits that she writes pretty minimalistic out of the gate, but even then, can benefit from an intentional attempt to write with efficiency and power. Robynne, on the other hand, loves words and often needs to rein a few of them in to make sure they’re serving the story or the point.

Which leads us to the first (almost self-explanatory) tip: Know what you’re writing about. If you don’t have a concept, theme, purpose, or reason for your writing in mind, you’ll wander. Being clear about why you’re introducing a character or writing a scene or developing a nonfiction chapter, etc., will not only be more efficient for you, it will make your writing much more clear and effective. And when you go to edit, you’ll be able to clearly see which writing isn’t doing the necessary “work” is should and needs modifying or cutting.

Jane chimes in with the example of songwriters and how they must tell a story and take the reader on an emotional journey in just a few words. Robynne then gives a great tip to set your parameters before your start. And then, boy, here’s one: Eliminate unnecessary or redundant words and trite, overused phrase. Robynne gives several examples: “Personally, I believe that war is wrong.” (should be “War is wrong.”) and “Suffice to say …” (omit!). There’s a particularly wonderful tip that involves post-it notes, and a whole lot more. Tune in to find out.