An overlooked and powerful editing tool

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Consider building a word cloud of your writing.

It might be all the text on your website, or the last 50 emails you sent. It might be your new book or the speech you’re going to give at Rice University.

It only takes a few minutes. I use wordclouds.com because it’s easy and free.

Click the ‘word list’ menu and ‘extract words from text’. Paste in your text (it can handle an entire book) and it will generate a word cloud. Here’s Kennedy’s speech on the mission to space:

At a glance, you’ll discover the essence of your tone, whether you have some stop words to be edited out (I use “just” too much) and what your audience is going to experience as the work unfolds.

It can be particularly useful for less formal interactions, like email.

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