Do you have a word or phrase that appears too often in your writing? Do those words or phrases sneak into your writing, no matter how vigilant you’ve been while drafting? How do those words creep into the pages of a manuscript? And, once those words make it into a manuscript, they can be hard to remove because they seem to take over the whole piece. Overused words are like weeds taking over a garden and they take a lot of effort to remove.
This morning, while working on revising a book review, I realized that several words and phrases appeared over and over throughout this piece of writing. I typically revise as I write, but I’ve been struggling with this particular piece so much that I finally just made myself put words on paper without stopping to consider anything. So, when I finally gave myself permission to revise, I discovered that the following words were a just few that appeared entirely too often:
not only…but also…
I went through my manuscript, highlighting the words and phrases that had invaded my writing. I struggled with finding the right words to replace them Slowly and painfully, I finally eliminated the overused words. It was an arduous process, but I feel much better about this piece. While I still have work to do in other areas, such as expanding on a few ideas in this manuscript, at least I’m happier with my word choices. I also have an important story about revising to share with my students in the fall.