For love of the writing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are words worth?

Business professionals write everyday, often having never majored or minored in grammar, English or communications: emails, TPS reports, white papers.

Marketing, PR and social media types write even more: blogs and comments; case studies; press releases and pitches; short, pithy, and hopefully share-worthy tweets.

Elegant phrases or funny quips, copywriting, fiction, dialogue for stage and screen – I miss having a Joss Whedon show on my TV – I likes me some good writing.

Writing to be Heard

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Purposeful pauses and passionate delivery, Dr. King gave this sermon using cadence and rhythm to build and connect with the crowd, some of it ad-lib in the moment.

April 4, shots ring out in the Memphis sky. Free at Last. They took your life but they could not take your Pride.

U2’s Bono sings those words heartfelt, strong, resilient; poetry to be song from the heart and soul (even with the 80s hair).

Writing to be Read

I like to read snarky TV recaps and sportswriter Rick Reilly. I read a host of blogs because they make me laugh, think, grow as a communications professional. For example:

When the dust and paint settled, what was left were two painters, some townspeople and the most powerful and beautiful shade of dark red anyone had ever seen. It covered streets, signs, people and walls. Silence once again reigned as people stared, stunned.

Joey Strawn, Now Selling Red, a powerful marketing parable about competition and customers, about growth and opportunities.

The very wrist which were once used to orchestrate and create are now dry, callus, and weak from carrying the weight of the steel. I was a prisoner of my past. My ‘history’ controlled my future.

Get These Chains Off of Me, which I’ve linked to it before but worth a visit if you haven’t already, by Frank Jennings who brings it with that post.

As I think about content, about the style and patterns to my writing I know that is how I plan it. The humor, the impact, the reveals, the object lessons on public relations and social media: it is written to be read.

In today’s complicated business world, good writing – effective, powerful communication – will always be worth a thousand pictures. Thoughts?

Photo credit: I also miss the writing of Waterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

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15 thoughts on “For love of the writing

  1. Davina, powerful, as always lady. 🙂

    What I took most from this is that you’re a ‘student of the game’. In other words, you don’t just read, but you study as you read, and because of it, you’re a much better writer.

    I’m trying to learn to do the same. Not just get through the book, but get from the book, ya know?

    You rock lady,and hope your weekend is a great one.

    Marcus
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Attention Sales Lion Community- I Need Your Help!

    1. I’ve always liked great writing Marcus.. that elegant phrase, pithy quote. Think that’s why I like some of the TV shows so much.. some of the dialogue just crackles with humor or depth or insight.

      I used to save clips and magazines w/ samples, but just don’t have the room. Luckily there’s the internets and I can hunt down things, but I really should do a better job of collecting samples. You’re right about being a student, it’s my advice for anyone wanting to write better; read better writing.

    2. Hey, I wanted to say something deep and meaningful like that; think Davina will notice if I copy and paste under my name now?

      I couldn’t agree more with the description; that’s why you da man Marcus….
      Bill Dorman recently posted..What is that smell

  2. Davina, I love writing! It’s what gets my soul moving, and my heart skipping a beat. Once I settle down into the zone, and let my hands become a flurry on the keyboard, it’s very hard to stop 😉

    Interesting distinction between writing to be heard and writing to be read; I guess with audiobooks now, we can definitely try out both styles and decide which is best. Ah, the choice we’re presented with these days 🙂
    Stuart recently posted..It’s Time To Look At The Clock

    1. Stuart, I’ve never listened to an audiobook more than a few minutes; it’s too distracting or something, I’d rather just read if I have the time.

      Community helps; sometimes I can more easily write in comments than I can for my own blog, that original post helping me to get it going. Even then, I’ve noticed my style is about writing to be read. Depends on the topic or interest more than the ‘zone’ for me, as yes once I get going on the keyboard, I can type forever when it’s something that I know or enjoy or am just on a kick. FWIW.

  3. Davina, I clicked on the links in this post and found some real gems I ended up passing along to others!

    I’ve alway loved writing, and come from a long line of authors, including a Pulitzer winner (my grandfather, Bill Mauldin). So I come by my love of the written word quite naturally, and never had to struggle with it as many do. However, as you alluded to in your reply to Bill, it can be hard for writers to say more in less words. If we don’t learn to do that, we’ll find it difficult to get subscribers.

    My daughter, also a writer, offered me a great tip: “Every sentence should be able to prove its worth in the body by standing alone.”Or something like that!

    I loved this post! Well done!!
    Michelle Quillin recently posted..One Way to Use Someone Else’s Video Content to Drive Traffic

    1. Michelle, I noticed you sharing some the posts which I thought were good; and giving me credit so thanks. I like all kinds of writing, but prefer the plain spoken to the academic; less obscure SAT words the better. 😉

      On saying more with fewer words, there’s the rub. I’ve joked – more than once – that my wit is wordy. Makes Twitter hard for me, hence the acronyms; and it makes blogging and commenting more work to try and say what I mean, make each sentence count per your daughter’s tip, w/out rambling like a crazy person. It’s a work in progress for sure, glad you shared your thoughts today.

  4. Hi Davina,

    What an interesting post. Growing up I used to hate writing. I never really understoon why I was forced to write all those essays in high school or what the purpose of a 20 page research paper was. Oh and the worst were essays for college and graduate school admissions. I dreaded writing.

    Now I write for me. I write to show my personality through words. I write to show who I am for those that I don’t have the pleasure and opportunity to meet with in person.

    Writing has become fun (never thought I’d say that). It’s almost like having a conversation without “saying” a word. I try to write the way I would speak (correct grammer as much as possiblt) so that people actually feel we are conversing with one another.

    Given that my writing reflects my personality and I’d like to say no price tag can match my personality lol I have to agree with Frank and say words are priceless!
    Chelsea Thomas recently posted..Facebook- Uncut

    1. So glad writing has become fun Chelsea, I can totally relate. When we write for ourselves, what we know and love it can be fun. If I had time, I could ramble for days about my favorite hobbies and such. Even the work writing, I see a difference. I just did a little rant against Twitter auto-DMs and had a blast, being silly and getting fun with it.

      You’re right about words showing personality to those we don’t get to meet in person. It’s a little trickier, but as I’ve become better acquainted with those in my community I do let myself open up a bit more in comment, that personality or wit I might otherwise hold back does slip out once in a while. 😉

      And speaking as a solo PR myself, one now big into the networking, it IS words and writing that connect us; ITA it’s invaluable, can’t put a price tag on it. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Arghhhh, I hated English in school. I loved to read and I could talk it relatively well but what the heck do you mean adjectives, verbs and pronouns………….booooooring…………

    Maybe it is indicative in my writing and I may never be a great writer because of my weak foundation; and maybe I can’t tell you what good writing looks like, but I sure know it when I see (read) it.

    But what is more powerful than being able to tell a story or paint a picture with your words; powerful indeed.

    Like my very diverse mix of music on my iPod, I go down many trails with my reading. In fact, my last read was ‘I Am Not A Serial Killer’ by Dan Wells (I’m not BTW, even though some of you probably think I’m a stalker…..:). I think the diversity allows you to hold your own in many a social situation. If serial killers come up I am ALL over it……

    I don’t know if I have a style per se, but would like to think its ‘readable’ and it sounds like me conversationally (minus the Fl Cracker accent).

    If you can effectively master the art of writing, you can certainly do many things with it; especially in the social media world where so much is written anyway.

    Hopefully I didn’t get off track in my reply; I have a tendency to go off in my own little world at times. Good post though Ms D.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..What is on your iPod

    1. Bill… yes, like social media, PR or porn, you know good writing when you see it.

      You’re example is not off track at all; often what attracts us to particular writers is their style, their personality giving the writing that much more oomph. Sometimes it’s the subject but often it’s the writing that will keep me reading a blog post or magazine article. I don’t like to read posts or anything really, that’s crazy long, usually b/c I don’t have time but also b/c they don’t seem to carry me through to the end. Yet I love to read Ingrid and Marcus all the time and they seldom stick to the 500-word post concept. I think it really can make a difference, effective story telling via good writing and ITA you, it needs to be relatable, readable. FWIW.

  6. Davina,

    That is a great question. To me the value of words can’t appropriately be appraised especially from a person who uses them correctly. Song lyrics carry emotion and passion. Poetry conveys such artistic vision that it’s depth is constantly underestimated. The power of a pen on paper with words eloquently designed with purpose is monumental in effect. So, my quick answer is…

    Words are priceless.
    Frank recently posted..Leave a Lasting Impression

    1. Agreed Frank. Poetry often baffles me, as do song lyrics sometimes. When a person uses the pen – or in my case, keyboard as I can NOT write freehand – to write something “designed with purpose” it is eloquent and can be very effective.

      I know my business writing has improved by writing this blog, by commenting on others: I think as much about what I want to write and how, consider the format, the page and paragraph breaks, the headers; all of it is designed to be read and discussed. Appreciate your thoughts, as always.

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