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Clearing the Clutter

My dad started writing a book when I was four. When I was 14, he published it. When I was 24, I finally read it.

Why the delay? When we edited papers together, he preached that every word has to be working. Any words that aren’t contributing to your meaning are detracting from it. As an already-slow reader, I feared that having to read every single word of his 507-page book would be overwhelming. I couldn’t tune out, like I did when reading, say, Heart of Darkness.

Now, as a much wiser adult, I can appreciate that words are much easier to digest when we read only the necessary ones. It’s the same concept as decluttering your kitchen or donating those unworn shirts to Goodwill. When you remove the unnecessary, the rest really shines.

At Kinder Ink, we seek to send you only words that will add to your world, and with thank you notes, we have only a couple sentences to convey a lot of sentiment. Below we share Father Kinder’s patented list of 10 phrases that never add meaning to your writing. Initially, removing these can feel uncomfortable, but the remaining words will be much stronger without them:

Warning: this list can be applied to all other writing (emails, blogs, stories, briefs etc.)

  • in an effort to

  • in fact

  • in order to/for

  • in the process of

  • the notion of

  • all in all

  • one and the same

  • feel free to

  • the fact that

  • for all intents and purposes

Happy writing!


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Quick writing tips for thank you notes, inspiring expressions of gratitude, and a little love and cheer.
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Photography by Erica Garlieb Photography
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