Why Is My Writing So Wordy? (7 Reasons + Quick Fixes)

Is your writing getting too wordy? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all have moments when our sentences seem to go on and on.

Here is a quick answer to, “Why is my writing so wordy?”

Writing is wordy because of a lack of clarity, overuse of transition words, failure to use concise language, lack of editing and revision, and inadequate planning or structuring. Quick fixes include outlining main points, using clear topic sentences, using precise language, and reducing redundancy.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind wordiness and give you some quick fixes to tighten up your writing.

Reason 1: Lack of Clarity

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Man surrounded by crumpled pieces of paper - Why Is My Writing So Wordy
I made this image with AI – Why Is My Writing So Wordy?

One of the main reasons why your writing may be wordy is due to a lack of clarity.

When your thoughts are not organized and your ideas are not clearly defined, it often leads to excessive wordiness in an attempt to explain yourself. This lack of focus leads to sentences that meander without getting to the point.

And this results in the reader to wade through unnecessary words to grasp the intended message.

Quick Fix:

  • Start by outlining your main points before you begin writing.
  • Ensure each paragraph has a clear topic sentence to guide your reader.
  • Avoid using unnecessary jargon or technical terms that may confuse your audience.
  • Edit your work to eliminate any redundant or repetitive phrases.

Reason 2: Overuse of Transition Words

Transition words are useful for connecting ideas and providing coherence in writing.

However, using too many transition words can make your writing verbose and convoluted. Writers sometimes rely heavily on these words to connect their thoughts, but this can backfire, creating a verbose and tangled narrative.

Excessive transition words can also disrupt the natural rhythm of the text, making it feel forced or overly scripted.

Quick Fix:

  • Identify the main transitions needed to guide your reader’s understanding and remove any excessive or redundant ones.
  • Read your sentences aloud to ensure they flow smoothly without relying too heavily on unnecessary transitions.
  • Focus on using transitions when they serve a specific purpose, such as introducing examples or contrasting ideas.

Reason 3: Failure to Use Concise Language

Using overly complex or verbose language can make your writing unnecessarily wordy.

When your sentences are long and filled with unnecessary phrases, it can be challenging for your reader to grasp your intended meaning. Unfortunately, this can lead to reader fatigue and confusion.

And that’s the last thing you want.

Quick Fix:

  • Avoid using long and complicated sentences when a shorter, simpler one will suffice.
  • Use precise and specific language to convey your ideas, avoiding ambiguous or vague expressions.
  • Focus on conveying your message clearly and efficiently, without unnecessary embellishments.

Reason 4: Lack of Editing and Revision

Failure to spend sufficient time editing and revising your work can contribute to wordiness.

When you don’t review your writing carefully, you may overlook opportunities to eliminate unnecessary words or phrases. During the writing process, ideas might not be fully formed, leading to repetitive or unclear statements.

Quick Fix:

  • Set aside dedicated time for editing and proofreading your work.
  • Read your writing aloud to identify any awkward or lengthy sentences.
  • Look for opportunities to condense your writing by removing unnecessary modifiers or redundancies.
  • Consider seeking feedback from others to gain fresh perspectives on where your writing may be wordy.

Reason 5: Lack of Confidence

When you lack confidence in your writing, you may find yourself over-explaining or using excessive words to support your arguments.

This could be due to a fear of being misunderstood or not being perceived as knowledgeable enough.

This can result in a text bloated with excess verbiage, obscuring the main points.

Quick Fix:

  • Focus on developing your self-confidence as a writer by actively seeking feedback and practicing regularly.
  • Trust in your knowledge and expertise, and let your ideas speak for themselves.
  • Avoid undermining your arguments by over-explaining or using unnecessary filler words.

In a survey conducted among professional writers, it was found that 78% of them admitted to struggling with wordiness at some point in their careers. By implementing the quick fixes mentioned above, you can significantly reduce wordiness and enhance the clarity and impact of your writing.

Reason 6: Inadequate Planning or Structuring

Without a clear plan or structure for your writing, you may end up meandering through your points, leading to wordiness.

An unclear structure often results in repetitive or irrelevant content, as you try to find your way through the topic.

Starting with a clear plan is the best way to avoid this reason for wordiness.

Quick Fix:

  • Create an outline before you start writing to organize your thoughts and main points.
  • Clearly define the purpose of each paragraph, ensuring each sentence contributes to this purpose.
  • Revisit your outline after a first draft to see if your writing adheres to the intended structure.

Reason 7: Overuse of Passive Voice

Frequent use of passive voice can lead to wordiness in your writing.

Passive constructions often require more words than active ones and can make sentences unnecessarily complicated and lengthy.

When the subject of the sentence is acted upon rather than doing the action, it often requires more words to express the same idea. This can make sentences less engaging and harder to follow, contributing to overall wordiness in the text.

Quick Fix:

  • Identify and rewrite passive sentences into active voice, where the subject performs the action.
  • Practice recognizing passive constructions and replacing them with active ones to make your writing more concise and direct.
  • Use grammar checking tools that highlight passive voice, helping you to revise them efficiently.

Here is a good video about how to fix wordy writing:

YouTube Video by Writer Brandon McNulty – Why Is My Writing So Wordy?

Is Wordy Writing Ever Good? (Surprising Answer)

Yes, wordy writing can be effective, especially in fiction, when it’s used intentionally to reveal a character’s traits.

For instance, a character who is nervous or in a panicked state might speak in long, rambling sentences, reflecting their inner turmoil. Similarly, a character known for being verbose can express themselves with excessive detail or tangents, showcasing their personality.

These deliberate choices in dialogue not only add depth to the characters but also help in advancing the narrative.

For example, a character’s lengthy, anxious monologue can vividly portray their anxiety, while a verbose character’s endless chatter can humorously or annoyingly interrupt the flow, adding layers to the storytelling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my writing often end up being too wordy?

Learn about the main reasons behind this common issue and discover quick fixes to make your writing concise and to the point.

1. How can I avoid using excessive words in my writing?

One of the main reasons for wordy writing is a lack of clarity about the main message. Before you start writing, take a moment to clearly define the purpose and key points you want to convey. This will help you stay focused and avoid unnecessary tangents.

Additionally, revise your drafts with the intention of removing redundant words and phrases. Look for opportunities to express ideas using fewer words without compromising clarity. Simplify your sentences and aim for concise, direct language to make your writing more effective.

2. What role does using specific and concrete language play in avoiding wordiness?

Using specific and concrete language is crucial in avoiding wordiness.

Vague or general terms tend to require additional words to provide clarification. By being specific and using concrete examples, you can convey your ideas clearly and concisely, eliminating the need for unnecessary wordiness.

For example, instead of saying “very hot,” you can say “scorching,” which is more precise and evocative. Likewise, using specific descriptions instead of generic statements will make your writing more engaging and to the point.

3. How can I structure my writing to make it more concise?

Proper organization and structure play a significant role in making your writing more concise. Start by outlining your main points or arguments before you begin writing. This will help you stay on track and avoid unnecessary deviations from your topic.

Use paragraph breaks to separate different ideas and maintain a logical flow throughout your text.

Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or concept, making it easier for your readers to follow along. By organizing your thoughts effectively, you can present your ideas in a clear and concise manner.

4. What are some common wordy phrases and how can I replace them?

There are several common phrases that tend to make writing wordy without adding value. Here are a few examples:

– “In order to” can be replaced with “to”
– “Due to the fact that” can be replaced with “because”
– “At this point in time” can be replaced with “now”
– “In the event that” can be replaced with “if”

Keep an eye out for these wordy phrases and opt for their shorter alternatives. By doing so, you can streamline your writing and make it more concise.

5. How can I edit my writing effectively to eliminate wordiness?

Editing is a crucial step in eliminating wordiness from your writing.

After completing your first draft, take some time away from it and return with fresh eyes. Read through your work carefully, paying attention to sentences or phrases that seem unnecessarily long or repetitive.

As you edit, look for opportunities to rephrase and remove excessive words.

Consider if a sentence can be simplified by condensing or eliminating certain phrases. Shorten paragraphs and break down complex ideas into smaller, digestible chunks.

Taking a critical approach to your own writing will help you become more aware of wordiness and enable you to refine your work effectively.

Final Thoughts: Why Is My Writing So Wordy?

As you apply these strategies and become more aware of your writing tendencies, you’ll find that reducing wordiness is not just a technical exercise. It’s an opportunity to grow as a writer and communicator, enabling your ideas to resonate more powerfully with your audience.

So, embrace the challenge, and enjoy the journey of refining your craft.

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