Writing It Down Makes You Think

The late William Safire.

The late journalist and editor William Safire, like me a Syracuse University alumnus (he dropped out after two years, but later became a trustee), wrote:

“Composition is a discipline; it forces us to think.

“If you want to ‘get in touch with your feelings,’ fine — talk to yourself; we all do.

“But, if you want to communicate with another thinking human being, get in touch with your thoughts.

“Put them in order; give them a purpose; use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce.

“The secret way to do this is to write it down and then cut out the confusing parts.”

Amen to that. If you need some help in the process, find yourself a good editor.

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1 Comment

Filed under Commentary, Editing Tips, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

One response to “Writing It Down Makes You Think

  1. Russ Tarby

    good advice, Mike !

    Safire once comments I sent him via snail mail,
    regarding my reluctance to run middle initials of self-important people in news stories. I was pumped that he agreed with me and thought enough of the comment to use it in his syndicated column.

    BTW I caught your buddy Skip Murphy blowing his harp with the salt City Jazz Collective big band last Wednesday at Syracuse Suds Factory…

    hope all’s well in sunny Seattle…regards to Heather…

    –RUSS
    (315) 308-5641

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