poet, novelist
chewer of pencils

A Corporate Writer's Manifesto

First, take joy in your work. It’s corporate, but it doesn’t have to be dull.

mongoliangirl.jpg Nomadic girl and her camel from the blog Bayan Jargal

Second, do more than what is asked of you. Most of what you have to do is work-a-day. But the necessary can be beautiful.

woodpileart.jpg wood stack by alastair heseltine

Third, don’t worry too much about being original. Don’t strive for “fresh,” or “edgy” or “on-message.” Just write. Write well. Use verbs. Cut excess. Don’t re-do something that’s working. And when you’ve nailed it, don’t worry if it’s short.

newspaper blackout by Austin Kleon

Fourth, look closely. It’s the details that make things come to life. Avoid the generic. Don’t say: “a great deal of public interest was generated by our grand opening.” Say: “11,000 people came.”

mauisandgrains.jpg grains of sand, by Doctor Gary Greenberg

You can even pick one detail and set it alone in a frame. People will pay attention to the most ordinary things if you help them encounter the ordinary in a new way.

cloudsinroom.jpg clouds in a room, by Berndnaut Smild, via io9

On the other hand, don’t lose track of the big picture. There’s no reason why an overview can’t be compelling. If you let the landscape of your facts guide the principle by which you organize them, the lines and shapes of your ideas can be muscular and beautiful.

ricefields.jpg terraced ricefields in China, via National Geographic wallpapers

Finally, if it’s not working, tinkering with it isn’t going to help. Don’t tinker, revise, and be bold in revision.

chickensistine.jpg “First Draft” cartoon by Savage Chicken.

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