Words are the most important part of any piece of writing. They are what deliver your message, communicate information, and create dimension. Seems pretty obvious, right? And yet, too often I see writing where the words just seem to fall flat. Sure, they may have gotten the job done (i.e. I got the message), but where is the energy and life?
Words have the power to make or break your writing. But when you’re writing every day, it can be easy to fall into a language rut—using the same descriptive words and phrases over and over and over and….well, you get the idea.
If your writing is lacking that va va voom element, don’t despair—it could just be a little vocabulary problem. Go beyond the basic “get,” “have,” and “do” words. Instead, choose verbs and adjectives that activate your prose and paint a picture for your readers.
As you go to write, consider the words you’re using. What impact do they have on your sentences? Does your word choice drive the reader through the piece, or do they have to wade through extra words and generalities? Experiment with different verbs and adjectives to find the combinations that most clearly (and concisely) express your meaning.
And remember: Bigger isn’t always better. Usually, the best words are the simplest ones.
Pay attention to your audience and identify the tone and voice you wish to convey so that each word contributes to, rather than detracts or distracts from, your main points. As you practice incorporating stronger words into your prose, your writing will be more precise, your message will be clearer, and your articles will be more engaging.
What are some word or phrase ruts you’re trying to break out of? What words would you add to this list?