Conclusion of the series, “Benefit from Bromides”
Last week we looked how well-known sayings can jumpstart your writing. Here are three more adages that can inspire your career.
“He who hesitates is lost.” Either by direct effort or mere luck, some plum writing assignments will fall into your lap from time to time. If you waste time worrying about whether or not you are ready to handle such assignments—enough education? enough experience? enough time? enough publishing savvy?—you’ll talk yourself out of taking what might well be your breakthrough gigs. Always say yes. To quote Woody Allen, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Trust in your ability to learn as you earn. Go for it!
“Well begun is half done.” Physicists talk about the power of inertia. A body in motion tends to remain in motion. Well, apply that fact to getting started on your writing project. Initiate momentum by assembling all of your tools—notes, pens, cup of java, file folders, recorded interviews. Clear away any distractions, e.g., magazines, books, unrelated research. Divide the work project into a series of stages. Go to the computer, and power it up. You’re halfway home already.
“The race does not always go to the swift.” If you balk at starting a writing project because you know you are a plodder rather than a sprinter, take heart. Often the writer who dashes off a first draft and then rushes it to an editor winds up receiving it back with a rejection slip or request for additional research, better fact-checking, and improved writing. You, however, may take a bit longer to prepare your manuscript, but the high-quality end product will save you time overall. So get started, work at your own pace, and take home the blue ribbon when you cross the finish line.
Consider this parting thought: Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, spent a lifetime assembling the book of Proverbs. Ben Franklin collected all the known one-liners and clichés of his era when he wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac. Let a word to the wise be sufficient.
Dennis E. Hensley, PhD, is director of the professional writing department at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and a Christian Writers Guild board member. His 54 books include:
- Jesus in the 9 to 5: Facing the Challenges of Today’s Business World
- How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It
- Man to Man: Becoming the Believer God Called You to Be
- More Than Meets the Eye: Finding an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Life
- Alpha Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 Hours
- Surprises and Miracles of the Season: Devotions for Christmas and New Year’s
- The Power of Positive Productivity
© 2014 by Dennis E. Hensley. All rights reserved.