Write to Express, Not to Impress

18 quick fixes to sharpen your writing

Ali Mese
Ali Mese
Sep 23, 2019 · 6 min read

“Thesaurus carpet-bombings and long-winded sentences are commonly mistaken for fine writing because they feel authoritative and intellectual.

But they’re just masks; effective writing is lean, clean, and easy to read.”

— Gregory Ciotti

“Keep your writing as simple as possible. Let the real writers blow our minds. Meanwhile, we’ll try to get our message across as clearly as possible.”

No: CEOs in the tech sector

Yes: Tech CEOs

No: The child cried loudly.

Yes: The child screamed.

No: I was given a raise by my boss.

Yes: My boss gave me a raise.

No: I hope that my colleagues enjoy my presentation.

Yes: I hope my colleagues enjoy my presentation.

No: It’s extremely cold outside.

Yes: It’s freezing outside.

No: The long and crowded flight exhausted the flight attendants.

Yes: The long, crowded flight exhausted the flight attendants.

No: There is a common thought among the students that school days should be shorter.

Yes: The students think school days should be shorter.

No: I made a decision to exercise daily.

Yes: I decided to exercise daily.

No: In order to use their time effectively, the employees worked through lunch.

Yes: To use their time effectively, the employees worked through lunch.

No: The customers are happy and excited about today’s product launch.

Yes: The customers are thrilled about today’s product launch.

No: Company vacation rollover policy

Yes: Company policy on vacation rollover

No: The living room lacks sunlight.

Yes: The living room is dark.

No: The parent and teenager are in a state of disagreement about the curfew.

Yes: The parent and teenager disagree on the curfew.

No: My core competency relates to getting buy-in from all stakeholders.

Yes: I like to ensure that everyone agrees.

No: My emotions got the best of me. In other words, I was angry.

Yes: I was angry.

No: I’m currently in a great mood.
Yes:
I’m in a great mood.

No: The family searched for houses that had four bedrooms.

Yes: The family searched for four-bedroom houses.

No: Calcium makes the bones stronger.

Yes: Calcium strengthens the bones.

This post is part of a series of stories that explores the fundamentals of fine writing.1. Write to express, not to impress
18 quick fixes to sharpen your writing.
2. How we got 11.3 million pageviews without the growth hacking bullsh*t
Growth begins with words.
3. Grammar cheat sheet for clean, clear, and compelling writing
30 tips to tighten up your grammar skills.
4. If you learn to write, you can change your life.
The secret is in the line.
5. How to start a blog in the most cluttered marketplace in history
You don't own your audience.

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Medium's largest active publication, followed by +717K people. Follow to join our community.

Ali Mese

Written by

Ali Mese

Founder: The Startup + Curious + Growth Supply. I also write essays that help you get smarter at building your thing https://GrowthSupply.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +717K people. Follow to join our community.

Ali Mese

Written by

Ali Mese

Founder: The Startup + Curious + Growth Supply. I also write essays that help you get smarter at building your thing https://GrowthSupply.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +717K people. Follow to join our community.

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