An online devotional for writers
You must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. (Matthew 12:36, NLT)
Get rid of extra words: it’s a guiding principle of good writing.
But which ones are extra?
“Examine every word you put on paper,” said American journalist and teacher William Zinsser (1922-2015) in his iconic nonfiction guide, On Writing Well.
Then determine whether or not each word advances your message. “You'll find a surprising number that don't serve any purpose,” said Zinsser.
Cut them out. Ruthlessly.
It’s a principle that permeates scripture, too.
Excess words are wasteful, said Jesus in Matthew 12:36, which indicates a careless heart. One day, you’ll have to explain to God why you used each one of them.
Save the discomfort of that discussion and get rid of extra words. Your writing will be clearer.
And you’ll have less explaining to do.
Get rid of extra words.
Help me write purposefully. Show me how to cut out extra words and make my meaning clear.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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