Possibly because my mantra is ‘words matter’, I frequently get asked for tips on better writing. For years, I quoted George Orwell who provided great advice on how to be simple and clear, including my favorite:
In the spirit of great writing advice from famous authors, here are more of my favorite quotes:
“If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.”
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
“I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished.”
“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Of course, if none of the above helps, there’s always this advice from Ernest Hemingway:
While it may not improve your writing, it’s probably more fun.
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This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around.
In a blog and twitter infected world, you would think that we’ve all learned to be brief. A never-ending parade of 50 slide ppt decks, run-on emails, and hour-plus lectures reminds me that we haven’t. It’s hard to get to the point.
If you’re guilty of long emails or verbose marketing copy, remember the famous line from philosopher Blaise Pascal:
Most people think this quote was from Mark Twain. Did you? (more…)