Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Words Are Magic

Dennis Welch knows the right words can be magic. The challenge for anyone who writes is selecting the right words. In this hurry-up-and-get-it-out world, "SO...WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" is a clarion call to choose your words with care.

In places, the storytelling and writing in these pages is laugh-out-loud funny. Yes, I laughed as I read several of the stories--a real testament to the craft inside this little book. The lessons for any writer or communicator are profound. Read this book with a highlighter so you can return to the messages and think about them again and again. 

To give you an example of the insights in this book, I’m going to excerpt a few words from one of the final sections called “How You Can Make Magic.” Dennis gives a key principle, “Don’t rush unless you have to.” He writes, “Look, I know everybody is in a hurry. Hardly anybody sits down to write anything for fun. You probably have a reason why you need to communicate more clearly and more effectively. And, you probably have a deadline. You’re not doing this for your health.”

“We live in a fast-paced, get-it-done-yesterday environment, and the biggest danger we fast is speeding along and just getting stuff done so we can mark it off our list.”

“Huge mistake.”

“Take your time. Think through your message. Plan out your writing time, if you can, to allow for some breathing room. Write it down, and then go back later and re-read it with fresh eyes. Check the taxonomy and the tone. I heard someone say once it’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. That happens a lot. You’re an expert and you use those terms every day in your work and life. But, are you writing to the uninitiated or someone who’s never heard of this stuff (but should)?”

“We all have blind spots as writers. Take the time to let someone else look it over if you can.” (Page 127)

I gave one little snippet of the type of wisdom packed into this little volume. I've got shelves of how-to-write books. In fact, I've given away many more boxes of how-to-write books that aren't on my shelves but I've read through the years. "SO...WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" is among the best of these books. There are simple, profound insights that are worth reading repeatedly. Dennis Welch has written what I hope turns into a classic. I highly recommend this book.

In fact, I encourage you to get a copy for yourself and a second one to pass to a writer friend. They will appreciate your thoughtful gift.

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