“Stories are a when something happened that you didn’t expect, that lead to some deep internal change in your self…Tell it.” — Anne Lamott
IMAGE: Creator of Changes by Nina Tokhtaman Valetova.
This international anthology contains 167 “richly-roasted, verbally aromatic poems” by poets from 34 states, 5 provinces, and 12 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, France, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the United States.”
The collection was edited by Argentinean poet Lorraine Healy who explains, “Whether central to the poem or sitting on a side table, a mere accessory; whether a prop in an internal conversation with a you absent these 25 years or a desperately needed substance without which there is no facing the day, a cup of coffee inhabits each of these poems…Breathe in the scent and may it keep you awake.”
Like a firm handshake, good writing gives people a lasting impression. No matter what the intention, medium, or technology — how and what you write needs to be clear, easy to read, and effective.
In his book On Writing Well, William Zinsser says, “We are a society struggling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.” If what you’re trying to communicate is hiding in that kind of clutter, it’s likely your readers will not hear what you’re trying to say.
“Writing is hard work.” Zinsser explains. Good writing takes time and attention. Here are some suggestions for righting what you write:
Start with an Outline. Jot down the points you want to make. Collect and organize your thoughts before you write them.
Stick to the Point. Don’t waste words telling people what they already know or don’t need to know.
Avoid Jargon. Don’t use words that people outside your line of work won’t understand. Find another way to say it.
Use Familiar Combinations of Words. “Everything that coruscates with effulgence is not ipso facto aurous,” works a lot more effectively as “All that glitters is not gold.”
Use “First-degree” Words. Words that create an immediate image will get the point across quicker. For example, use object instead of manifestation, or face instead of visage.
Avoid “Windy Phrases.” Is there a shorter way to say something? Say it that way. “The secret of good writing,” says Zinsser, “is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”
Read it out loud. Better yet, ask someone else to read it back to you. Do you pay attention? Is your message clear? Do you understand yourself?
“Good writing doesn’t come naturally,” explains Zinsser. But good writing is essential if you want to communicate effectively with your audience.
(Need help? Visit our sister website Words by Jen for information on our copy writing and editing services.)
In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, poets near and far are gearing up for NaPoWriMo, challenging themselves to write 30 poems in 30 days.It sounds daunting, but it’s actually a lot of fun! In a weird, geeky poet sort of way.
Visit the NaPoWriMo website for more information, check out participating poets’ sites, and/or submit your own site so folks can follow along!
Then, visit our sister site, Random Acts of Writing, to follow this poet’s progress.
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EMBRACE YOUR RAW, STRANGE MAGIC
The way we’re taught to live has got to change, says author Casey Gerald. Too often, we hide parts of ourselves in order to fit in, win praise, be accepted. But at what cost? In this inspiring talk, Gerald shares the personal sacrifices he made to attain success in the upper echelons of American society — and shows why it’s time for us to have the courage to live in the raw, strange magic of ourselves.
How the Image of the Heart Became the Symbol of Love
We see the familiar symbol everywhere — in text messages, signs, cakes, clothing, and more. But we also know the real heart looks nothing like it. Historian Marilyn Yalom tells us how the anatomical organ became the symbol that we all know today.