Last week, I was working on the bio section of web copy for a client. I wanted to describe the artist’s creative abandon without sounding so dramatic, so I used “creative inhibition.”
Here’s the sentence: Her creative inhibition combines her keen awareness of social groups and cultures with hand-drawn images and rich color palettes.
Problem? Inhibition does not mean the same thing as uninhibited, which is the word I was thinking.
Inhibition (noun): a feeling that makes one self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way
Uninhibited (adjective): expressing one’s feelings or thoughts unselfconsciously and without restraint
Not to mention that the words are antonyms, one is a noun, the other an adjective. So I couldn’t just swap the words. And writing “uninhibited creativity” sounds cumbersome.
Here’s the revision: Her artistry combines a keen awareness of social groups and cultures with hand-drawn images and rich color palettes.
When editing and revising, I try to stick to the motto “less is more,” thanks to a lesson learned more than 10 years ago from my old friends, Strunk & White: “Omit needless words.”
See how swapping two words for one makes all the difference?