When I edit a piece of content—whether it’s an article, an advanced guide, or a story—I can often transform it from blah to brilliant with just one simple change.
What’s my #1 edit, you ask?
It’s replacing boring words with words that sing.
Writers tend to default to passive voice. Passive voice is the use of “being” verbs rather than “action” verbs: is, am, was. And it’s b-o-r-i-n-g because nothing happens.
Passive: Our snazzy new product was launched this week.
Active: We launched snazzy new product this week. (Isn’t that exciting?)
Activate your writing. Use stronger, more powerful verbs, and you’ll see the difference right away.
But that’s only half the solution.
Second: Boring, Overused Words
Ho-hum words don’t engage. They lull your readers to sleep. So you need to replace trite or common words with words that wake up your readers and get them engaged.
Just one word of warning…
Don’t go to the opposite extreme and try to be all writerly and creative. If your readers are aware of you as the writer, it’s a huge distraction, and they won’t pay attention to your message.
Don’t be overly creative.
Don’t be showy.
Focus on your message—not your word-juggling skills.
The reason you’re writing content in the first place is to share an important idea or teach people how to do something or generate a laugh.
So focus on that.
Write clearly and concisely: sharing, teaching, telling stories, etc. Just do it with words that stimulate your readers: active verbs and uncommon nouns.
One More Tip
If you rely too heavily on adverbs and adjectives, it’s a good sign your verbs and nouns are weak.
Cut as many adverbs as possible. Especially very. Professional writers try to use no adverbs, but in content, because we aim to be more conversational, a few might sneak through.
Then take a second look at your adjectives. They might add color or rhythm. But it’s likely your writing will be stronger if you cut the adjectives and choose more interesting nouns.
Need Some Inspiration?
This infographic, courtesy of Custom Writing, gives you fresh alternatives to the most common boring words.
Don’t push your readers’ snooze buttons. If you’re struggling to engage your readers, try replacing boring words with more colorful options.