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The secret of good writing

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The secret of good writing

Most people think good writing flows easily and effortlessly on first draft. Nothing could be further from the truth.


"There is no such thing as good writing. There is only good rewriting."
Harry Shaw - Errors in English and ways to correct them.


More than just proofreading, good editing improves the clarity and forcefulness of your writing. It’s where the real work of writing happens.


Here’re some tips to help you improve your editing:

  1. Read out it loud – if it doesn’t sound right, it usually isn’t right.
  2. Sleep on it – if it’s an important document wait at least a night before you edit.
  3. Don’t add, cut – concise writing is more powerful and easier to read.
  4. Be harsh — if a word or phrase doesn’t add value to what you’re saying, get rid of it.
  5. Use plain, simple English – inexperienced writers use pretentious words and jargon, it excludes readers.
  6. Say it clearly first time – don’t waffle. Throw out all unnecessary redundancies you don’t need.
  7. Kill unsightly adverbs – they usually serve only to pad out a statement that doesn’t need padding.
With padding Without padding
He ran quickly He ran
  1. Avoid passive sentences – it makes for weak, unconvincing writing.
Passive Active
Mistakes were made I made a mistake
  1. Make it easy to read– write for the eye as well as the mind. Number major points, use white space and keep paragraphs short.
  2. Rewrite – good editing, like good writing is an art. It takes time and practice to    develop a real talent for editing, but the end result is worth it — your writing will be    more alive, more effective, and ultimately more likely to be read.
James Hurford

James Hurford

James Hurford | Copywriter | Trainer | Coach | Owner of Passion – the copywriting company.
At Passion we specialise in copywriting in plain language for the financial services sector. With over 25 years of experience working for top international companies, we bring a vast amount of knowledge and copywriting expertise to every client we work with.



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