Why words are a writer’s worst enemy


As writers, we can have tendencies to gravitate towards the verbose. Our literary genius is only matched by our research, penchant for a hook and the knowledge that everyone is drinking up our words like they are naked in the desert.

But guess what, words can actually be a writer’s worst enemy in the modern world.

I will pause now to give you time to recover from your gasps and to collect your chins off the floor. But there is method to this madness.


Toss away all those unnecessary words, all of them
Toss away all those unnecessary words, all of them


In a world once dominated by desktop computers, laptops and more recently tablets, mobile is king.

If a website does not have a mobile equivalent, readers are more likely to look away. The attention span of the average digital user is fleeting, so when presented with a desktop site that doesn’t fit neatly on the screen on their device, there is little chance they are going to read on.



Here are some tips for attracting the attention of consumers using mobile devices to consume content:

1. Abandon the ‘shape’ algorithms. Golden triangles or F-shaped heat maps of where readers were once likely to focus their attention on a page are now outdated. Mobile users look front and centre, and move on immediately if nothing catches their eye.

2. Pictures are king. A blob of text is not going to attract anyone’s interest for more than a second, at best.

3. Be brutal with your economy of words. This is the key part of your writing which will take time to hone. Slash anything unnecessary. Ensure your headlines are punchy and strong. Short paragraphs are key, as are short sentences. 


So toss out those War and Peace novels and start working on text-light copy that conveys everything you need to say quickly and effectively.