Create Engaging Content: Cut the Fluff

by | Nov 11, 2015 | Writing Tips | 0 comments

If you’re looking for the secret to amazing writing, then come closer and let me whisper it to you: cut the fluff. No, I’m not talking about abstaining from that delicious marshmallow spread; I’m not the food police, and I won’t judge you for the goodies you have stashed in your shame drawer if you don’t judge me for what’s in mine. I’m talking about taking out the repetitious, nonessential and pretentious content that can bring down the quality of your work.

Repetition Is for Parrots

When writing, don’t repeat yourself. I repeat, don’t repeat yourself (Look, Ma, I’m clever!). Padding your work with repetitive content will make it seem like you haven’t done your research or have nothing to say. You want to write a respectable article, so get to the point, combine clauses when appropriate, and don’t assume that restating something will help clarify a point the reader may not understand. If that’s the case, then rewrite potentially unclear sections so that they stand strong on their own.

Examples:

  • Every country has a legal drinking age. Each country follows its own underage drinking laws.
  • New chassis trailers are also for sale at our dealership as well.
  • When beading, prepare your workstation by laying down a towel or a velvet jewelry pad. One of the main reasons that you want to prepare your workstation with a cloth of some kind is to keep your beads from rolling around.

Wipe Out the Worthless Words

I hate it when I’m watching a movie and the dying victim has five seconds to reveal the killer, but instead she spends that time breathlessly saying, “My love, I need to tell you something. The killer is—” right before she gives up the ghost and takes the secret to her grave. Nobody likes this (or finds it realistic), so don’t do the equivalent in your writing.

How do you know if you’re fluffing up your work? If taking out a sentence or phrase doesn’t alter what you’re trying to say, that probably means the content is unnecessary. Realize that many readers will notice when an article is full of unneeded information, and they likely won’t view it as a reputable source.

Examples:

  • It is for all intents and purposes a device that easily removes nails from a roof.
  • Deforestation is a concern because of the fact that many states don’t require a tree to be planted after one is cut downby a logger in the area.

Thesaurusitis Is a Painful Disease

Some writers have a habit of using the thesaurus too much. While keeping your content fresh is important, make sure that your work doesn’t turn into an SAT vocabulary study guide. Even if you’re writing an article on scientific programming and algorithm development, keep your content approachable. That isn’t to say that you should dumb down your focus, just don’t create overly complex phrases that could be concisely or clearly written. Remember, one of the easiest ways to lose a reader’s interest is to fail to connect with them.

Examples:

  • It has been articulated by various and sundry populaces in the sphere of influence that the nihilism of bureaucracy is prosaic.
  • The fragmentation of pragmatic theory in society is repugnant and ought to bring to the surface fervid sentiments of trepidation and melancholy.

Maximize Word Count

When you’re out of ideas with 50 words to go until you reach the article’s minimum word count, don’t start stuffing your work with filler. Instead, research a new angle and use unique content to bulk up your article. By cutting the fluff, you will create a relevant and engaging article that you can be proud of. If you struggle with fluffy writing or have helpful tips on how to avoid it to create engaging content, comment below!

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