Welcome back to 10 Powerful One-Liners to Keep Your Writing Strong (Part Two). Here are five more powerful one-liners to inspire you and keep your writing strong.
Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. — Carol Burnett
It's unsettling to find your carefully crafted work misquoted, misinterpreted, or taken out of context, but it happens all the time, and I'm not talking about plagiarism or copyright infringement. I'm talking about reading.
Readers filter your words through their own history, bias, education, interests, objectives and mood, and what they experience and retain may be quite different than what you intend.
Therefore, be absolutely sure of what you write. Check your facts. Check them from a second source and then from a third. Then check your sources. You alone are responsible for the validity of your writing. If you have any doubt, leave it out.
Don't write anything you'll be tempted to deny later. If you write when you're angry, edit after you've cooled down. Denials and apologies may fulfill professional obligation, but they can permanently scar your readers and your reputation.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. — George Orwell
If you don't believe what you're writing, change your belief or change your writing. It's a brilliantly simple way to become a better writer.
Hunt for verbal camouflage. Look for crowded, circuitous passages in your writing. Notice redundancies and superfluous adjectives. They signal a lack of conviction that is obvious to your readers if not to you.
This can be a bit trickier for freelance writers who are paid to represent someone else's ideas, but whether or not you share your client's beliefs, you need to believe in your writing. Never sell out.
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. — A.A. Milne
(If you're naturally disorderly, hopscotch over this section and meander your way to Nido Qubein's one-liner further down the page.)
To write vibrantly you must open yourself to continual discovery. This is the thing about writing that sustains some of us and catapults others towards the nearest freelance writer. If you have the will to dabble in disorder, but you don't know the way...
Write by candlelight. Write by water. Write by candlelit water.
Change your clothes. Take them off.
Return to pen and paper.
Write in public. Write what you see. Write what you don't.
Write as if you're talking to a child. Write as if you are a child.
Promise yourself that you'll burn whatever you write. Break your promise.
Write about your greatest fear. Write about your greatest love. Write your greatest fear about your greatest love.
Read your writing out loud in a crowded café. Standing up. Write about that.
Write about something you think you know nothing about. You will discover that you do know something about it. You know how to write.
Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets. — Nido Qubein
This is perhaps the most difficult one-liner for new and wanna-be writers. The desire to get paid for writing - and officially call oneself a writer - is so strong that most new writers will accept anything that remotely resembles a writing assignment - church bulletins, classified ads, a child's birthday party invitations. They end up spending so much time writing for nearly nothing that they don't have any time left to research higher paying assignments.
Resist this temptation. Your writing and your business will be stronger if you narrow your field to a few key areas of interest. It may take longer to build a sizeable client list, but you will develop a portfolio and a referral base that fit your business goals.
The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. William Zinsser
There is nothing more to say.
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Copyright © 2006 by Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.