You have to admire Jennifer Hudson. When most celebrities go from ‘full-bodied’ to size zero, there’s a backlash, especially from loyal fans who feel they’ve sold out.
Size Zero Writing: Ignore The Backstabbers
Sly digs such as ‘painfully thin‘ accompany most articles when women (and men) hit the scales. It’s a nasty way of eroding someone’s confidence. But, it’s to be expected.
When you try to move ahead, some cosmic law states that others will try to pull you back.
I call it ‘peer gravity.‘
The influence others use to bring you back into their orbit 🙂
Here’s the thing. Once you accept that this will happen, it’s easier to start. It’s like expecting rain. If you know it’s going to happen, just carry an umbrella. That’s it.
Size Zero Writing: Getting Started
So, what has this to do with business writing?
When you start writing as a child, it was simple, direct, and appealing. The grammar may not have been perfect but it had a charm of its own.
Ask a four year old to write about SpongeBob Square Pants and you’ll get the idea. You’ll never want to throw away the page. Trust me 🙂
But as we get older our writing changes.
- We add more adjectives to decorate the prose.
- We use longer, more complex, meandering text (like I’m doing now).
- We stop writing for ourselves but to please others.
And, we fill every inch of the page.
Before we know it, our writing has become bloated, dense, and unattractive.
Somewhere along the way we lose direction.
And that’s why success stories like Ms. Hudson are so encouraging.
Size Zero Writing: Stick To The Plan
Once you recognize that you have a problem, you’re halfway there. What you need is a plan.
How do I get from where I am today to where I want to be?
Well, here’s a suggested approach:
- Find three writers whose style you want to copy. Yes, copy!
- Make sure one is fiction, one non-fiction, and one technical.
- Write out 200 words of each writer to get a feel for how they write.
- Close the book. Write the text from memory.
- Refine the text until you get the material to size zero.
Remember, while it’s important to reduce the word count, merge ideas faster, and move at a crisper pace, don’t lose the thread.
It still has to read well, right?
If you do this for a while, you’ll begin to see their style creeping into yours. Don’t worry, that’s fine. Keep at it and pretty soon, their influence will blend into yours.
And the key word is blend. You won’t lose your integrity. Rather, your business documents will have a nice, fresh feel to them. There’ll be that ring of confidence that was missing before.
Enough from me. What do you think? How do you put your words on a diet? What works best?