Repetitive writing is a problem faced by many writers. It’s easy to fall into this content trap because we have become accustomed to speaking in phrases that are repetitive in nature. Thankfully, it’s easy to overcome some of the bad writing habits that give readers a serious case of Déjà vu.
Stop Using Wordy Expressions
Using expressions such as “do to the fact” catches many writers off guard. It’s just as easy to say “because” or “since” in place of exasperated statements. If you’re not sure your writing style is using too many wordy expressions check out this great list compiled by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Feel free to create your own list of overused expressions as well and you’ll see a vast improvement in your content structuring.
Avoid Long And Run-on Sentences
It’s really easy to fall into the “however, more so, etc” trap when you are extending your sentences into the stratosphere. Instead, keep your sentences short and to the point. This makes your writing easier to digest and removes the need for certain phrases. When you double check your work it’s also easier to catch repetitive statements when you’ve created a simple to digest structure for your written content.
Read Your Work Out Loud — Every Time
Experts agree that reading your work out loud is the best way to catch grammatical mistakes and repetitive phrases you would normally miss. Whether writing a short piece of journalistic content or plotting out your first big fictional masterpiece, reading out loud is a great way to hear and see repetitive phrasing at the same time.
If you’re struggling to determine which common words and phrases you are overusing it might be time for some help from technology. Analyze My Writing (AnalyzeMyWriting.com) allows writers to paste in their full text to determine word and phrase usage.
Grammarly.com (a Zenpost favorite) provides writers with a weekly email summary through its platform called “Insights.” One of the included metrics provides a very clear synopsis of overused words and suggestions for alternatives.
Readable (Readable.io) can measure your “readability score” with a simple copy and paste of your text. The platform scores your content based on various indexes including Flesch-Kincaid grade level scoring, Gunning Fog index, Coleman-Liau, and other tests of your choosing. Readable.io is the best solution for determining if you write in sentences that are too long and you’ll receive other very helpful tips to improve your writing on the spot.
Avoiding repetition takes practice but it’s not a hard process. There are plenty of technology-based platforms that can help find pain points in your writing so you can take actionable steps immediately.
Read your work out loud, avoid wordy expressions, and steer clear of long and run-on sentences and you’ll be in a good place very quickly.