Writing Tip: I can’t take that out!

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“I can’t take that out!”

He almost screamed it. We were working to improve his blog posts and reviewing a draft. I suggested that he take out a particular phrase. He objected.

He said it was a great phrase. It was. He said that it was a fine bit of writing. It was. But the post was better without it.

Everyone who writes comes up with great phrases, stories, and examples that need to be cut out. That’s because excellence isn’t the test. Look at the whole article or blog post or book. Is it better with the fine phrase in it? Or not?  If the answer is “not,” then it’s got to go.

If it doesn’t make things better, if it doesn’t move things forward, it doesn’t matter how good a piece of writing is. It’s got to go.

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