Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eating your own dog food

Eating your own dog food is a phrase that's used in advertising when you are  telling someone they should try their own product. I applied that thinking this morning when I read my post from last night. The words I read were absolutely terrible. Everything was overwritten, overwrought and just down right bad.

Some of my best friends make their livings as writers. They use words to put food on the table. If any of you are reading this, I beg you to ignore my previous post. It was written like a drunken sailor with a thesaurus.

In my line of work, I sometimes have to read work written by young copywriters. I made every mistake that I bust them for. "Too wordy." "Trying to hard to be clever." Cut out the descriptive language and get to the point." "Your reader isn't as in love with your words as you are." 

When I read through my post from last night, I realized I was trying too many tricks. In the end, my own self-absorbed use of the language got in the way of my thought. I have the first part of writing down-writing from your heart. It's the second part that's the problem-editing with your head. Then lastly, forgot the words of Faulkner:"Kill your darlings."

Words are like spices, too many and the focus of the dish that's being served is ruined. Sometimes I forget to listen to the narrative voice in my head, and I get lost in the pretty, shiny words. The meat of the subject gets lost and the whole thing is ruined.

So, here's the deal, if you're one of the 2 or 3  people who actually read this blog and you catch me being too clever for my own good, call me on it. Remind me to eat my own dog food.

In the future, I'll try to keep my writing focused, stay away from too many bits of word play and not waste your time. As the old saying goes, if you've got something to say, say it. Make your point and get out. I'll try to do the same.

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