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Are You Using Too Much of One Word in Your Copy?

Okay my writing friends, let’s get real about what we put down on paper or out there on the internet.

We all have our catchphrases and vocabulary choices we love to use when composing our copy. And why not, when they’re such great words?

We rely on them for a reason – more than one reason, more than likely. They express our personalities and sound right to us and come out so naturally. Not to mention how they convey exactly what we’re trying to convey.

All great incentives to put them into play!

However, they're not great enough pretexts to overuse these words. Yet too many of us do exactly that in our professional writing copy: We plunk a word or set of words down so much and so often that they lose their value, making us look a little bad in the process.

I’ll pick on myself as an example.

I’ve been realizing I use the word “all” all the time. Here’s a mere smattering of sentences I’ve thrown into my manuscripts and blog posts, between the ones you see here on LinkedIn and the creative writer-specific educational pieces I add every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to the Innovative Editing website:

  • It’s all about your character’s motivation, you see.

  • Hopefully, we all know we’re not perfect.

  • After all, there’s more to it than that.

  • All of which to say that the plot has to make sense from start to finish.

  • Whether a writer chooses to use dialogue tags all the time or none of the time or some of the time is their own business.

And then, of course, there are the two examples I used above in this very blog post:

  • We all have our catchphrases and vocabulary choices we love to use when composing our copy.

  • All great incentives to put them into play!

Added up, it’s a lot of “all,” to say the least. And that’s not the half of it.

By itself, it’s a good enough word. There’s no need to completely eliminate it from my writing repertoire. But it’s not good enough to use five times per copy when the piece in question is less than 1,000 words.

That’s just not as professional as I’d prefer it to be.

Admittedly, I prefer to be pretty professional. But shouldn’t we all?

As writers, we have the power to influence in a positive, constructive and profitable way depending on our word choices. We also have the power to influence in a damaging, unsupportive and financially fruitless way.

Moreover, there are both blatant ways of expressing our messages poorly... and much more subtle methods of losing our audience members: tons of tricky little mistakes we don’t think about as we write and potential customers or followers won’t ever consciously recognize as they read.

Yet, subconsciously, those mistakes can make a difference.

That’s why, for the last week or so – and going forward – I’m going to pay attention to not just how my words fit into each sentence. I’ll also keep in mind how many times I use them per piece.

I have no idea whether “all” expresses my personality or not. I do know it sounds right to me and it comes out naturally, seeming like it conveys exactly what I’m trying to convey.

But you know what? There’s more than one way to write what's on my mind. That’s the beauty of the English language. It’s so very malleable with so much potential.

Plus, there’s always, always a tip to take to strengthen your professional copy and personal pieces.

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