These Wishy-Washy Words Make Your Writing Less Powerful

Writers need skin in the game

Malky McEwan
E³ — Entertain Enlighten Empower


Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

Writers using wishy-washy words and phrases will lose 50% of their readership over the next year, and there’s nothing they or their editor can do about it.

Half of their readers will unsubscribe.

The other half will only skim their work until they get so utterly bored with the cowardly and ineffectual writing that they will give up reading. They’d rather bite their toenails, bang their head repeatedly with a copy of The Writer’s Handbook 2005 or watch cricket.

(Watching cricket — is that a step too far?)

I asked a friend if she would like to go to a party.

“Maybe,” she replied.

I felt like a tyre hissing air, waiting for the next stab to deflate me completely.

“Who else is going?” She enquired.

My friend was hedging. She wanted to qualify her decision. She wanted to know if it was worth going to the party because the prospect of going to any old party with me wasn’t a good enough reason on its own.

Imagine if, without thinking, she’d said, “Sure, I’d love to go with you.” No questions. No qualifiers. No hedging. How much better would I have felt?