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September 07, 2007


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Joanna Young

Hi Lynn, what a great piece. I'm wondering how much time you spend on headlines, because this one certainly drew me in!

I'm very interested in your thoughts on brilliant/satisfactory. I sometimes find that my own writing is simpler (and resonates more with readers) when I stick to it being 'okay' 'good enough' 'that'll do for the job' - when I aim for brilliance my own words get more tangled, and there's less room for others to join in.

For me that's one of the fun things about blogging. We don't just go for 'satisfactory' (although I'm not sure it's the right word) because the service is free, but because it's the right approach anyway in order to: sound like yourself, engage with your readers, leave space for comments.

Thanks again for prompting me to stop by - and leaving me the space to join in:-)



Joanna, thanks for reading and asking. Let me mention headlines first. I try to make the headline engaging and truthful (truthfully representing what the piece is about). For this piece, I started with "Writing Is a Breeze," which actually fits neither of my criteria. Then when I was halfway through the piece and realized where it was going, I changed it to the current headline. My challenge with headlines is to keep them short enough.

As for brilliance, I agree with you. Brilliance and simplicity go hand in hand, and when we work too hard at cleverness or finding the "perfect" word, our writing can feel overworked.

When I mentioned brilliance, I was thinking about the conclusion. A metaphor would be wrapping a gift. After we have boxed the gift and wrapped it in paper, we add ribbon. Sometimes the ribbon and bow complete the package perfectly--brilliant! At other times they are simply okay--they complete the package satisfactorily but don't achieve beauty or elegance.

In blog entries I sometimes feel when I have finished that I have offered a perfectly wrapped present. It's brilliant! I am glowing because I have found just the right ribbon and bow to complete the gift. I can't wait to share it and see how people react. At other times it's just a nice gift adequately presented.

With this blog I do not have a client waiting for something brilliant from me before he okays my invoice. So I can stop at satisfactory when I need to. Whew! I am relieved about that.

Many thanks for your conversation.



Hi Lynn,

John Wesley, an 17th century English preacher, used to travel from preaching station to preaching station on horseback and would manage to read along the way while on his horse (I don't know about writing, but I think I might do some research about that). I've ridden a horse. I cannot imagine it, personally.

I am sometimes surprised how much time I do take drafting and editing my writing. It is good to know I am not alone and that good writing like yours is born from such effort.

I appreciate your image of a wrapped gift for a complete piece of writing. I have been know to wrap a gift in the Sunday comics sometimes, but I always feel a little ashamed of the fact. Same with my writing, too.

Thanks for this well-wrapped gift.



Robin, you are not alone. I often use the Sunday comics as giftwrap. It shows a wise conservation of resources, doesn't it?

Confession: I have never ridden a horse--at least not that I remember.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.



Nice to see that I'm not the only one that checks and rechecks his writing and then checks again.

Srini P

Lynn, I wanted to thank you for this blog as it changed the way I think about wrinting an article/essay/paper. After reading your article, for some reason, I feel like more confortable to start writing process. It gave me a seed to start thinking about writing an artile in more positive way. All these days, there is a little bit rust sitting in mind about how to start a writing process. This is a brilliant piece for someone just like me.

Thanks again.

Srini P

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