5. Avoiding throat clearing. It was tempting to write an introduction to this list, but the title says enough.
4. Slashing whole thoughts. It’s easy to wordsmith sentences, but truly slimming content means slashing nice-to-have ideas if they aren’t priority thoughts.
3. Maintaining voice and connection. I hate to admit it, but an audience isn’t given; it’s earned. While I love to think that my readers are drawn naturally to my genius ideas, an occasional moment of in·im·i·ta·ble human honesty helps build and maintain the relationship. It’s okay to address you directly. I love you.
2. Loosening arguments. Each piece has a unique balance of length, attention, and quality. A thesis without arguments is vacuous. There is such a thing as too skinny to function.
1. Formulaic Construction is unimaginative. The plethora of 3, 4, and 5 item listicles may make the 4±1 rule seem tired, but there is comforting familiarity in these structures. Sometimes, tried and true is what works.
Crossposted from my now-retired blog, Writing for Learner Engagement.