Your English Teacher Taught You Some Very Bad Habits | Ted Prodromou

Your English Teacher Taught You Some Very Bad Habits

I don’t know about you, Ted, but I’m always bouncing back and forth between two, three, and sometimes four books.

This week I’ll be finishing my second go-round with The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic. 

I often read books two or more times if it’s a game-changer for me. 

I read classics like Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence People once a year.

The 3-Minute Rule resonates with me.

It’s a powerful, proven way to get people’s attention to let people know how you can help them. 

Another book I’m reading is Murder Your Darlings by Roy Peter Clark. 

I met Roy at Copy Chief Live in 2019 and his presentation was a game-changer for me. 

He’s a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute which is one of the top journalism schools.

Murder Your Darlings is a compilation of writing tips from 40 top authors.

I’ll be adding this book to my annual reading list. 

One of my biggest takeaways so far is to cut the clutter. 

"Search for lazy words, even after several drafts," he says.

The Hemmingway App helps me find and cut the lazy words in my writing. 

Do you remember the writing assignments you used to receive in school? 

You had to write 500 or 1000 words about a topic.

Your English teacher taught you a terrible habit.

Your focus was on the word count, not the content. 

You added lots of descriptive words as filler to reach your word count. 

The less you say the more powerful your writing will be to the reader.

Use short, punchy sentences so your writing flows. 

Instead of filling in the blanks, let the reader fill in the blanks themselves. 

This lets them adapt your story to their way of thinking. 

Just for fun, I found an article I posted on Medium.com in 2019. 

Here’s a few paragraphs pasted into the Hemmingway App.



Four out of six sentences are hard to read and two adverbs are unnecessary.

Here’s the same content after I omitted 13 unnecessary words and created short, punchy sentences. 

My original article is Grade 10 level. The “clean” content is Grade 6 level which how you “stop the scroll”. 

Which do you think is more powerful?

About the Author Ted Prodromou

Would you like me to help you? I'm the #1 best-selling author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business. People call me America's Leading LinkedIn Coach. I'm the founder of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC, a full service online marketing agency. The SMS team designs and implements advanced LinkedIn and social media lead-generation strategies for small to medium-sized businesses. SMS will set up and manage your marketing funnels using organic, social and paid traffic. Did you know I've been working with the internet since 1991, long before Al Gore invented it?

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