clear out the throat clearing

You’ve finished a piece of writing. You’ve revised it and it seems ok. What next?

Try deleting your first paragraph.

Why? Because it often consists of introductory remarks – the kind of thing that people begin speeches with. That’s why in the trade it is known as “throat clearing”. In writing you don’t need welcoming thoughts, background, explanation for why the piece is important. You’re not waiting for your audience to settle down. The real beginning of the piece, where the content starts, is often the second paragraph. You don’t need a delay.

So do yourself, and the reader, a favour. Delete your first para.

Could this post do without its first paragraph? Sure.

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