Tag Archives: Expressive writing

Take the dull out of digits

Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) launched an exhibit this week that explores the story of nine rare blue whales that became stranded in thick ice and died. The ROM recovered two of the skeletons after the creatures washed ashore in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014. Blue whales are massive, but even before you get to […]

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Use expressive writing to explain complex ideas

Humans are funny creatures. We’ll binge-watch hours of TV episodes or movies, yet barely tolerate a fraction of a second for a web page to load. That means you need a shortcut to meaning if you’re explaining something complex or unusual. Seth Godin says the best way to convey a complex idea is to “find […]

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The ‘word casserole’ that is Trump’s speaking style

On the eve of the U.S. election, even those of us up here in Canada are biting our nails. For a bit of diversion, here are some wonderful additions to my collection of expressive writing. In “Trump’s Tower of Babble,” talking about “the accidental brilliance” of Donald Trump’s speaking style, Slate‘s words correspondent Katy Waldman […]

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Rhyme and rhythm: Musicians know how to write

If you’re looking for writing inspiration, here’s an idea: Turn up the tunes! Musicians do a masterful job of touching our hearts and souls, and sometimes our funnybones, too. Artists tell stories using many of the more traditional writer’s tools for expressive writing, such as metaphors and similes. One that always sticks in my head […]

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3 ways to spark interest with expressive writing

Have you ever been urged to “show, don’t tell” in your writing? Then you want to think about expressive writing. For a compelling example of the power of language, take a look at this fascinating piece about earthquakes by journalist Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker. This is just one of many, many places where […]

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Show some love for neglected expressive words

What knavery is this? With so many words at our disposal, we’re ditching some perfectly delightful and expressive words. Wayne State University, for one, is having none of it. Each year, the university’s Word Warriors column lists the top 10 words “that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose,” drawing attention to […]

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‘Insight as a cat’ + more expressive writing

Steve Jobs illustrated the value of an iPod by saying it would let you take your whole music library with you in your pocket. That’s the kind of expressive language that gives readers or listeners an “aha!” moment of understanding. The February issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, shares some great examples of expressive writing that […]

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Get an ‘aha’ moment with analogy

Vivid images in your writing are the fastest way to give your readers that “aha!” moment of understanding. Common tools are analogies like metaphors and similes, which compare this new thing to that quite different thing. A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar (“The river snakes its way…”). A simile compares two […]

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4 ways to simplify your sustainability report

This time of year, corporate sustainability reports bloom like algae in a lake. These reports show the efforts a company makes to do the right things for the environment and the community. However, the language that describes what they do is often thick with jargon. And there’s no getting around multi-syllable words like “sustainable” and […]

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Linguistic cicadas & other expressive writing, in my December newsletter

You can’t always (ever?) be wildly creative in corporate writing. But you can and should choose words and phrases that are interesting and colourful to help your readers “see” what you mean. I’m always on the lookout for expressive writing, and the December issue of Wordnerdery includes some great examples. Read about the “linguistic cicada” […]

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