Good Writing is Lean and Confident

Tips from William Zinsser

Prune out the small words that qualify how you feel and how you think and what you saw: “a bit,” “a little,” “sort of,” “kind of,” “rather,” “quite,” “very,” “too,” “pretty much,” “in a sense” and dozens more. They dilute your style and your persuasiveness.

Don’t say you were a bit confused and sort of tired and a little depressed and somewhat annoyed. Be confused. Be tired. Be depressed. Be annoyed. Don’t hedge your prose with little timidities. Good writing is lean and confident.

— William Zinsser, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, 7th ed. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2016), 70.