Monday, October 15, 2012

Writing Tips from Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

“Today the printed word is more vital than ever. Now there is more need than ever for all of us to read better, write better and communicate better.”

Truer words were never written, right?

So who wrote these? International Paper, whose corporate tag line at the time was: “We believe in the power of the printed word.”

In support of that position, in the 1980s, the company created a whole series of advertorials, drafted by exceptional communicators of the time, including Bill Cosby, Malcolm Forbes, Jane Bryant Quinn, James A. Michener, John Irving and George Plimpton.

The first piece that I read in the series was titled “How to Write with Style," by the late great novelist Kurt Vonnegut, author of Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions, among others. His tips for writers are especially valid in the era of social media, where authenticity and passion rule. They include:

1. Find a subject you care about

2. Do not ramble, though

3. Keep it simple

4. Have the guts to cut

5. Sound like yourself

6. Say what you mean to say

7. Pity the readers

You can see the entire series of International Paper advertorials in .pdf format here.

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