Category Archives: Conclusions

Famous Dead Authors’ Secrets for Writing Success

By Sara, My Web Writers Intern

It has been said that writers are born, not made. Some take that to mean that you are either born with talent, or you may as well not try. That’s probably bunk. If writers are born, they are born out of the sweat and tears of determination and practice. Whether you are drumming up SEO content or working on the next great American novel, writing well and employing the habits of effective writing are essential.

First, it’s important to practice.

Practice keeps you in the habit of writing and thinking about writing. Nineteenth century author C.S. Lewis, most famous for The Chronicles of Narnia, says that “what you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write… so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.”

Another prolific writer, recently deceased Saul Bellow, observed that “somewhere in his journals Dostoyevsky remarks that a writer can begin anywhere, at the most commonplace thing, scratch around in it long enough, pray and dig away long enough, and lo! soon he will hit upon the marvelous.” When you practice the craft of writing and pay diligence to it, you grow. Even if you write tweets for a business firm, you are bound to come up with more unique, interesting, and creative content when you practice. Imagine an athlete who only played her sport at game time — she wouldn’t be good at it and would not be long rewarded for her “efforts.” So practice, practice, practice. Start now. Call it writers’ Spring Training.

Having some “filler” in your drafts is o.k.

It’s certainly tempting for any writer to stop when we have so-called “writer’s block.” Larry Gelbart, though, says “don’t stop.” He wants us to put something there and keep moving. Recently I wrote an article on decade themed parties and decided to employ Gelbart’s advice. I could have stopped and stared at the computer screen when I was stumped on what to write about a 1970s party that wouldn’t be a tired cliché. Instead, I wrote, “too much Footloose not enough Studio 54,” and moved on to the 1980s. Later, while editing and revising, I realized Footloose wasn’t even set in the ’70s, but I understood where my mind was headed. If I had tried to flush that out in the first draft, I’d still be writing it. Listen to Larry. Use filler and keep writing.

Beware of clichés.

“Beware of clichés…. There are clichés of response as well as expression. There are clichés of observation and of thought — even of conception. Many novels, even quite a few adequately written ones, are clichés of form which conform to clichés of expectation.”

-Geoff Dyer

Geoff Dyer is not dead (here is his website), but this advice was too good not to share. Clichés are death to all that is interesting. I can’t say that clichés are never ok, because writing, like most art, only deals in absolutes for the strict business of breaking them. That being said, clichés are never ok. “It goes without saying” that the “early bird catches the worm” and “curiosity killed the cat” so a true “jack of all trades” would never to “keep up with Joneses” by recycling tired clichés.

If it goes without saying, then please, please, just don’t say it.

Ctrl-F and Delete those Adjectives

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

-Anton Chekhov

Adjectives are not the enemy here (Hint: its clichés). Adjectives can be a crutch, though. I recently read an article about a mama raccoon saving her litter of baby raccoons during a bout of bad weather. It passed through my twitter feed with the phrase, “mother raccoon shields her litter on turnpike from cold,” so of course I read it. I read it and said “awwww… how heartwarming and precious!” If the tweet had falling back on adjective addiction, I probably wouldn’t have clicked on the link following “Heartwarming and precious tale of courage.”

“Don’t say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, ‘please, will you do the job for me?'”

-C.S. Lewis

Reflect on What You Wrote

In Politics and the English Language, George Orwell claims that a “scrupulous writer” will constantly, even after every sentence (so definitely before sending that tweet), ask him or herself four questions. I leave you with those four questions to take back to your own stack of papers and document files (and practice!):

What am I trying to say?

  1. What words will express it?
  2. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
  3. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

Other Articles from My Web Writers:

Tweet for ReTweets- Twitter Tips

My Favorite Writer and Online Marketing Websites and Blogs

What Stephen Covey Knew about Marketing

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Overcoming the Beautiful Little Fool

Annual Essay Contests You Shouldn’t Miss

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Filed under Audience, Capturing Audience, Conclusions, Descriptive Writing, Expository Writing, Narrative Writing, Persuasive Essay, Revising & Proofreading, The Writing Process, Web Writers, Writer's Block

Famous Closing Words and Winning Conclusions

by Lauren

Lauren, My Web Writers Team Member

“With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” -J.F.K.

This conclusion to President Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address represents the features of a winning conclusion. Why? Because President Kennedy’s closing words provide a powerful statement that stirs the heart and engages the mind. In this case, the message to go forward doing good in the world and to make a difference not only calls for reflection but for action.

All winning conclusions, whether written or spoken, contain some element that provokes and enables the target audience to respond to the conclusion’s call to action. Inspiring and motivating closing words aren’t only for those in a leadership position. They are as equally germane to any materials included in a marketing campaign. Given that a company’s goal is growth, all written and spoken materials should include a winning conclusion whose closing words resonate with the target audience.

How do you come up with winning conclusions that rival the likes of famous closing words like John F. Kennedy’s? Three keys come to mind:

  • connect with the target audience’s,
  • aim high,
  • provide your audience with the means to act.

Conclusions that Connect
Returning to President Kennedy’s famous closing words at his inaugural address, we see that his vocabulary drew everyone together into a sense of oneness. He achieved this by using the words our, us, and we. The conscious decision to position himself among the American people instead of above them reassures the people that he, himself, expects as much of himself as he expects of them. Moral of the story – make sure that your conclusion speaks as much about what you can do for your target audience as about what you ask the customer or client to do for you in purchasing your product or employing your services. The relationship you aspire to forge is not one-sided but mutually beneficial.

Conclusions that Aim High
Although not explicitly stated, President Kennedy’s closing words aimed high. How so? He spoke of generations beyond the one to which he was sharing these closing words by alluding to history being “the final judge of our deeds.” In essence, the true measure of his generation’s legacy would not be measured by the certain quality of their own life but by the potential good of future generations, the beneficiaries of their noble deeds. Along this same value of aiming high, President Kennedy’s mere proclamation to reach the moon, inspired a whole generation to galvanize their efforts in making that happen.

When putting the finishing touches on your company’s marketing materials, aim high! Just go for it! If you think that a new customer will realistically just buy one of your products, encourage them to purchase two in your conclusion. TV infomercials are notorious for aiming high. In their ten minute segment of closing words they offer free bonuses or second, free sets for customers who respond to the call to buy their item. Although infomercials use high pressure tactics to get people to aim high, strive to convince your customer to aim high and buy more than they originally intended, or to subscribe to your service for a longer period of time than anticipated, by reemphasizing the real benefits you offer.

Conclusions that Provide the Means
President Kennedy’s famous closing words recognized that his call to put country before self could require sacrifice and struggle. Given the demands of his call to action, he declared to his audience the means that would enable them to realize Kennedy’s vision for the country. Those means consisted in “asking [God’s] blessing and His help.” Unlike Kennedy’s reference to God as the means to carrying out his famous closing words, closing words for marketing purposes should include your phone number, mailing address, email address, website url and social media sites. In the end, your objective is to begin a long-lasting dialogue with your target audience and, if they cannot contact you, the dialogue never begins.

If your marketing efforts aren’t garnering the kind of growth in customers or clients you want, then maybe your conclusion’s closing words and content are weak. Does your conclusion connect with the target audience’s, aim high, and provide your audience with the means to act? Look it over, make some adjustments, let an objective eye critique it for you and, if you just haven’t managed to come up with those famous closing words that will earn you a winning conclusion, consider outsourcing your project to professional content writers whose business it is to bring a winning conclusion to all textual materials of your marketing campaign.

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