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How to Write Better

How to Write Better

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One of the key performance indicators (KPI) for good technical writing is conciseness. This is one reason why geeks (and the military) love TLAs so much, “Lookee, it only takes three keystrokes instead of twenty!”

Sidebar: my first year at Microsoft, I kept a Sharepoint list of TLAs I ran across each day. I stopped after 1,000...

Writing Well tells us “Conciseness and precision go together.”

Conciseness: Methods of Eliminating Wordiness, from the Purdue University online writing lab, includes 10 algorithms you can apply to reduce the wordiness of your writing.

If you think of writing like software engineers think of writing code, you can grasp the rule of thumb: reducing the number of lines of code by 50% yields a 500% reduction in time to analyze, debug, and maintain.

Reduce wordiness = increase conciseness.

Remember and apply Will Strunk's Rule #17: “Omit needless words, omit needless words, omit needless words.”

When you get down to the sentence level, check out Writing Concise Sentences for some more actionable steps you can take to reduce wordiness, increase precision, and generally de-cruft your writing.

Do as I say, not as I do.

 

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  • One of the key performance indicators (KPI) for good technical writing is conciseness. This is one reason

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