Tips from the Pros

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a grad student drafting a thesis, or a worker bee trudging through your nine to five, here are a few tips that are bound to either enlighten you in some small way, or at least make you giggle. Maybe both?

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”  Mark Twain

I personally think that we should all try this in conversation. “That’s a very damn good essay you’ve written little Johnny! A+!”

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou 

Boy can Maya Angelou tell some stories. And what a poet! Have you ever read “Phenomenal Woman”? It’s my favorite. Beyond her poetry, do you have a story that needs telling? I’m still waiting for mine.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain

It’s amazing to me how many smart yet funny things Mark Twain came up with. He is truly one of America’s greatest.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemmingway

Is it just me or this “so Hemmingway” of him to say this? I feel like I need a glass of wine.

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” Kurt Vonnegut

A lesson we can all take with us in life—courage, bravery, trust—sometimes we just have to let go. Try something new, believe in what we can’t see, or let go of what comforts us most. Who can say we’ve lived until we’ve “jumped off cliffs”?

by twicepix

Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Feature image by bengal*foam