Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's Summer--Let's Celebrate!

Today's the last day of school for many teachers. So I say, "Congratulations for surviving another year! You're amazing people." Being a perpetual student myself, I love teachers. In fact, I have a teaching degree, too; I just never chose to spend my years in the school classroom. Instead I have used my teacher training in my writing, in speeches and trainings, and in many other ways, so it has been valuable to me. My admiration for teachers is great--they deserve our highest praise and appreciation.

Summer is also beginning to shake it's sunny head here in Texas. We're in the upper 80s, sometimes 90s, already. So we Texans are cranking up our air conditioning, sitting in the backyard swing in the shade (see mine right), or hibernating in the house now until about November, avoiding summer dust storms (see photo below) and sunburns.

The convertible top is down. The aroma of burgers on the grill wafts through the neighborhood. We mow our lawns, then water them so they'll grow back and we can mow them again (where's the logic in that?). The malls are jammed with teenagers. The public swimming pools are teeming with kids. People are taking well deserved vacations. All's right with the world. Ahhhhhh.

I hope you have a wonderful summer too. I'd love to hear how you plan to spend it. Just click on "Comments" below and tell us what you're doing. We'll compare notes. Meanwhile, here is the next installment in our myths about writing series:

Writing Myth #6: Vocabulary Is Everything

In my opinion, communicating, not vocabulary, is everything. You must learn to make your writing style fit your intended audience. The reader should not have to struggle to understand your message through a maze of highbrow vocabulary words.

If you are writing for children as Sheila Walsh has brilliantly done with her new book, God's Little Princess Devotional Bible (see photo right and review below), then write with a child’s vocabulary and sentence length, not your own. Is that easy? No! You have to give up everything that's comfortable and natural to you--your writing style, your vocabulary, your knowledge level. But it's imperative if you want your book to do well.

If you’re writing for a general adult audience, write on a mid-elementary level. (According to U. S. Government statistics, the average American adult now reads on a fourth-grade level or below, and it's steadily declining. Scary!) That means don't use a three-dollar word when a fifty-cent one will work. Keep it simple. If you're writing for scholars, then by all means use your scholarly words and style. They expect it. They get it. Still, communicating well is still the target, not just flaunting big words. Bottom line: communicate! Don’t just write to show off your vocabulary. It's the message that's important, not the messenger. Write on! Mary

Next time: Myth #7 Adjectives Are Key To Great Writing CreativeEnterprisesLtd.com

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