This Thursday’s Thought

There’s no avoiding it now: Wal-Marts and Staples everywhere are teeming with parents whose noses are buried deep in school supply lists and their hands buries deep in their pockets to afford it. A new school year is headed straight for us and it’s coming up quickly. (Not for this working professional, though!)

In anticipation of the onslaught of first year term papers I’ll be hired to edit in the coming months, I thought I’d put myself through a little “refresher course” this week and read Bruce Kaplan’s “Editing Made Easy: Simple Rules for Effective Writing.” This week’s thought? Learning never stops. It’s a lifelong process… and I’m not just talking about the bookish stuff, you know.

Quite early on in the guidebook, Kaplan lists his 12 Golden Rules for Professional Writing and Editing. In the spirit of lifelong learning, I thought I’d share a few key rules for those of you dusting off your notepads for the fall semester:

  • Write and edit to express, not to impress. Keep your technical jargon and your fancy-schmancy words to yourself!
  • Avoid unnecessary words. I find that reading your work aloud reveals pretty quickly those words you could do without. As a heads up: the word “that” is seldom necessary… kind of like every pair of Juicy Couture velour sweat pants ever made. Ever.
  • If in doubt, leave it out. The key to effective writing is possessing the ability to speak clearly and concisely. Don’t bog down your essays and reflection papers with the miscellanea of your mind; you’ll bore your reader and your message will be lost.

Enough about school, already… I hope everyone gets the opportunity to soak up the sun on this final long weekend of a pretty unforgettable summer.

/jr

 

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