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You can't help doing it. It's simply too tempting...

The first writing sin in this series


Welcome to the first issue of the series!

You’ve been there.

You’re on the couch, and it’s 2 AM.

You’re surrounded by empty cheese puff bags and soda cans.

Kinda like the parents in “Spirited Away”…

You’ve been binging your favorite show for the thirteenth time or playing that video game (looking for that last pigeon hiding somewhere in the city to complete that achievement)…

Every cell in your body is screaming that it’s time to shut down, but your too sugared up and come too far (it’s gotta be in the next alley…).

Gluttony…you’ve let yourself go far past the point of meaningful pleasure.

It doesn’t benefit you or anyone else for that matter.

In the craft of writing, this is a terrible place to lead your reader.

Indulging in yourself and ignoring the reader

Come to think of it, this is also something that happens with bad professors.

They get on their favorite topic during lecture and drone on and on about the intricacies of subatomic molecular orbitals…

::shudder:: Yeesh I remember those sleep-inducing sessions.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

  • Digressions

  • Monologues

  • Filler words and fluff

  • Repetition (not the cool kind)

  • Writing that has no central point

I’m guilty of doing this…in fact I’ve done it multiple times throughout my life.

You have as well. Remember those writing assignments in school that said “write a 500 word essay on the life cycle of fungi”?

300 words in and you start filling in all sorts of weird, drawn out statements. Either you didn’t do enough research or you were practicing to become an awesome politician someday (filibusters fall in this category).

Stick to the topic at hand

You’re not in school anymore.

Write to communicate and get your point across.

I call this razor writing. Here’s what I mean:

That’s not to say that expanding on it and sharing more detail isn’t important, though, just make it clear and concise at first.

Hmm, I just realized that the post above is a year old!

(See? I went off-topic for a moment as well.)

Don’t stray too far or say too much.

Cut down on filler words.

Kill your darlings.

Say less.


What’s next?

Next week, I’ll expand on something that I’ve seen neophyte social media writers do far too much of initially.

It’s a personal pet peeve, and it drives me nuts (borderline spam).

Look for it in the next issue.