Tight Writing and You
Tight-writing examples (and a definition of concise writing—and tips) await you in these slides.
Want to give your messages allure? Want your copy to turn readers’ heads? Learn how to strip away filler words, peel off the unmentionables, and get down to those bare essentials that keep audiences coming back for more.
In this workshop, Marcia introduces a technique for eliminating filler words (and sentences and paragraphs) and creating tighter, more engaging text. This technique takes the guesswork out of concise writing by showing exactly what to look for. Once you’ve got this technique down, you’ll know how to do the following:
- Increase keyword density.
- Cut translation costs.
- Polish your writing to a 24-carat, attention-grabbing luster.
BONUS: Marcia uses a spreadsheet to “do the math” in real time, showing how much tight writing can cut translation costs.
- “Dump These Words” list
- Translation-savings spreadsheet (Numbers version)
- Translation-savings spreadsheet (Excel version)
What Attendees Say
- Robin Whitmore: “I first encountered Marcia at a seminar she gave and was so excited by her methods that I immediately put them to use. And although they are easy to remember and follow, I bought the book so I can always verify that I’m writing the best, most concise content that I can. The book is easy to use as a reference tool, but like the author herself, is engaging enough to read, and reread, front-to-back. I’m so enamored of her and her methodology, that I’ve asked her to come and do a seminar for all my fellow employees. Can’t wait to see the results in our doc set!”
- Michelle W: … and then “my inner Marcia kicked in.” More →
- Amy Brown: “Marcia … argues that wordiness is bad when paying for translation and when people are reading on small screens, but editors everywhere know that concise writing is easier to read and comprehend.” More →
- Andrew Nhem: “Marcia let us in on her secret list of ‘no-no’ words that we can cut from our documents. That list definitely stuck with me … I believe everyone walked out of [this] talk with a bigger respect for concise writing.” More →
- OneoftheMichelles: “This is good…esp: ‘Can’t make the instructions concise? Maybe the thing you’re explaining needs to change?'” More →
- HumbleOnion: “Great presentation … It led me to reexamine my own writing style – highly recommended.” More →
- Shelly Ericksen, Content Marketing Manager at RMS: “I learned so much from your workshop (case in point: just reduced a document word count by 25%).”
- Julie Fast: “I’ve been a professional speaker for a long time. In ninety minutes, you have profoundly changed the way I write.”
- Marshall Ennis: “My students—who called [this technique] ‘hard work’—were impressed when reading back their revised drafts. They found their revised sentences ‘clearer’ and ‘more confident sounding.’ One student said that the tool helped her sound ‘more professional.'”
- Thelma Valdez: “The July 1 webinar was one of the best I’ve attended in recent memory because it was short and focused primarily on a single technique. I immediately started watching out for be-verbs and what a revelation! I love small things that effect big changes! I was so pleased and impressed that I bought the Nook version of Word Up. I read a few chapters and can see that my writing is headed for even more improvement!”
- American Translators Association (ATA) Conference (blog post by me + blog post about my workshop), Nov. 2015
- “Content Content” – (podcast #5 with Ed Marsh), “Undefinable Me,” Aug. 19, 2015
- “How to Create Content that Produces Instant Leads & Sales” (webinar), July 30, 2015
- OSCON Interview about Write the Docs (YouTube), July 22, 2015
- Write the Docs 2015, Portland, OR, May 17–19, 2015
- Confab Central, Minneapolis, MN, May 21, 2015 (presentation & materials, blog post)
- Portland State University “Transmit Culture” panel discussion, Feb. 19, 2015
- STC Technical Editing SIG watercooler chat, Feb. 11, 2015
- STC Technical Editing SIG webinar, Dec. 11, 2014
- Information Development World, San Jose, CA, Oct. 24, 2014
- Lavacon, Portland, OR, Oct. 12, 2014
- Twin Cities STC chapter, Sept. 9, 2014
- Kaia Communications, Portland, OR, Aug. 5, 2014
- Words with Bang Save Translation Bucks, webinar with the Content Wrangler, July 1, 2014
- STC Summit, Society for Technical Communication, Phoenix, AZ, May 20, 2014
- Write the Docs 2014, Portland, OR, May 5–6, 2014 (lightning talk)
- STC Spectrum, Society for Technical Communication, Rochester, NY, April 14, 2014
- Intelligent Content Conference, San Jose, CA, Feb. 26-28, 2014
- National Speakers Association “Master Class,” Portland, OR, Nov. 21, 2013
- Multnomah County Library, Kenton branch, Portland, OR, Oct. 6, 2013
- Acrolinx User Conference, San Jose, CA, June 26, 2013 (see video—wait for Adobe Connect to load, and then move the slider to 1:53:30)
- Content Strategy PDX Meetup, Portland, OR, June 13, 2013
- Write the Docs 2015, Portland, OR, April 8–9, 2013 (see video below)
- Intelligent Content Conference, San Francisco, CA, Feb. 7-8, 2013
- Technical Communication Content Strategy in the Mobile Device Age—STC (Society for Technical Communication) virtual conference—Dec. 5, 2012
- Make Your Words Work workshop co-sponsored by the Puget Sound chapter and Willamette Valley chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, Portland, OR, Nov. 17, 2012
Video—Write the Docs 2013 (Presentation)
Video—Write the Docs 2014 (Lightning Talk)
Video— “Teach Your Text to Strip”
“Brevity is not only the soul of wit, but the soul of making oneself agreeable and of getting on with people, and, indeed, of everything that makes life worth living. So precious a thing, however, cannot be got without more expense and trouble than most of us have the moral wealth to lay out.”
—Samuel Butler, The Note-Books of Samuel Butler 98 (1912; repr. 1926).