Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Aha Moment of the Day!

I'm running WAY late! I was suppose to be at Debbie's school by now, but I've been so busy - I can't get out the door!
So now since Debbie and I just went over a few things, I can relax before hitting the road. Tomorrow, I'll be attending a blogging conference, and so I decided I would spend my 15 minutes of calm time to see who the presenters are. It's not an educational group, so I don't know them at all.
They all sound interesting, and part of me is wondering why I asked to go now. I have nothing in common with any of them. But this one guy has a post that caught my eye and his opening sentence made me realize WHY I have problems writing "technical" help items for work, or even the third person article for our newsletters. James Chartand's post "What Jergens Hand Soap Can Teach You About Crafting Compelling Copy" starts off with the statement, "Want to be a better writer? Read. That’s a given."
I read all the time! But I don't read the proper books. For instance, I just read "Can You Keep A Secret" by Sophie Kinsella. In the book Emma pretends to have read "Dickens". I pretend too! But I have read James Patterson, Janet Evonich, JK Rowling, Nora Roberts, Vince Flynn - you get the picture. I just read four books since Thursday! Smoking would be a cheaper hobby! I also have a ton of books on my shelves, including The World Is Flat. I think I read part of the first chapter while traveling. Fastest dinner I ever ate! I finished in a hurry to make it to the bookstore. I had to have something entertaining to read. I have skimmed the book since then, but never read it cover to cover, and never will.
I have other books on my shelf like that.
So when I write, I write the way of the authors I enjoy. Stephanie Plum is telling her own story - not Janet. Nora writes details and is expressive, not straight and to the point. And so I want to give the background, the details, and I want to write the story as if I was the one reading it to you. Like we're having a conversation.
My suitcase is packed. I just guiltily looked at the latest ASCD book sitting on my desk.
I grabbed the Jayne Ann Krentz book I picked up yesterday instead.

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