Make Your Writing Better by Removing Verbal Waste: What Josh Bernoff Can Teach You in "Writing Without Bullshit"

You and I can be better writers if we remove verbal waste from our writing.

A new book from Josh BernoffWriting Without Bullshit — shows you how to remove the verbal waste.

Waste is Anything That Fails to Add Value

Waste is unwanted or unusable material. Waste is anything that is not adding value.

Waste is:

  • Spoiled Food. The extra food that no one ate at the party, that you forgot to put away, and that now stinks because it's spoiled.
  • Unused Items. The golf clubs collecting dust in the garage.
  • Idling Workers. The employees just hanging around because they have no active project.

Getting rid of waste is how you increase value and efficiency.

In Writing, "Bullshit" is Verbal Waste

In writing, you use words to do things: 

  • To persuade,
  • To teach, and
  • To manage.

Your writing (and my writing) contains words that have no value — words that do not make our writing more effective.

Our writing contains bullshit.

Our writing contains verbal waste.

Josh Bernoff's Book Writing Without Bullshit Can Help You Eliminate Verbal Waste

The writer and blogger Josh Bernoff equates verbal waste with bullshit

In his book Writing Without Bullshit, Bernoff shows you how to get rid of the verbal waste in your writing.

Josh Bernoff's book — Writing Without Bullshit — shows you how to eliminate verbal waste in your writing.

Josh Bernoff's book — Writing Without Bullshit — shows you how to eliminate verbal waste in your writing.

What Writing Without Bullshit Will Show You How to Do

Writing Without Bullshit shows you how to:

  • Change Your Perspective. You need to see that what we read on the screen is full of waste. You need to understand that your own writing tends to be wasteful — full of bullshit. And you need to realize that you have an opportunity: you can improve your writing by getting rid of the bullshit.
  • Change What You Write. Bernoff will show you how to write: 
    •     Boldly,
    •     Briefly, 
    •     Helpfully,
    •     Directly, and
    •     Honestly.
  • Change How You Write. Writing Without Bullshit shows you how to improve your writing process. You will be able to handle writing projects more intelligently if you follow Bernoff's advice.
  • Change What You Produce. Bernoff helps you think about the kinds of writing you produce: emails, blog posts, and reports. Bernoff helps you see that writing in a screen-based, digital world requires different writing habits from those of the past:
You're not a Victorian novelist. So stop writing nothing but words, as if you're writing on a scroll with a quill pen. Real writers don't just type words; they mix in lots of goodies to keep the readers interested and enlightened.

Note about the Quote: That quote from Bernoff's Writing Without Bullshit is from a section called "Get Over Your Bias Toward Paragraphs, Even in Short Documents."

That section is in a chapter called "Reveal Structure."

That chapter starts with a single-sentence paragraph: "Prose sucks."

Hanson's copy of Writing Without Bullshit. (Photo: J. Hanson)

Hanson's copy of Writing Without Bullshit. (Photo: J. Hanson)

If You Want to Write Better, Buy Writing Without Bullshit

I want to write well. I want my readers to enjoy and to benefit from the things I write.

Josh Bernoff's Writing Without Bullshit taught me how to improve my writing — how to make my writing more enjoyable and useful for my readers.

Do you want to get better at writing? 

You should: it's an opportunity to increase the value of your work.

Take advantage of that opportunity and buy a copy of Writing Without Bullshit