“Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

It happened again.

A consulting client sent me an essay she’d written – and it was packed with track changes from her editor on what she was doing wrong.

There were no specific suggestions on how to make it stronger – just cryptic notes about what she should fix.

This type of punitive editing saps our spirit.

Our author self esteem goes right (write?) out the window.

What’s worse – there wasn’t ONE positive comment from her editor.

Not one, “Well done!”

Not one, “Compelling opening sentence. You had me at hello.”

Not one, “Kudos on this real-life example with dialogue that put me in the scene so I could SEE what you were saying. Do this with the example on page 8 so it’s equally vivid and visually specific.”

It was all critique.

“Change this comma to a semi-colon.” “This paragraph is too long.”

I understand.

Many editors think that’s what they’re getting paid to do. It’s what they were taught, and it’s what their editors have done to their work.

However; this type of negative-focused editing hurts more than it helps.

It’s time for editing to evolve – and it is up to us authors to catalyze the change we wish to see.

I suggest we follow Jack Canfield’s advice.

Jack says, “People treat us the way we teach them to treat us.”

If you have an editor who’s making you feel you can’t do anything right; teach your editor to be a coach not a critic.

Ask that editor to comment on what you did well – so you can do more of it.

Ask your editor to point out examples of sentences in your work that sing – so you feel encouraged instead of discouraged and can’t wait to get back to work.

Ask your editor to be a “yes” editor instead of a “no” editor.

Ask, “Instead of making me feel like I’m a bad writer; please show me how I can be a better writer.”

And yes, (smile), you are welcome to share this with your editor.

Do you worry about losing your voice?

No. When I love the music I’m singing, it is just there for me. – Barbara Streisand, in CBS Sunday Morning interview, Aug. 21, 2011

Smart woman.

Do you know how to find your voice?

It what you say and how you say it when you’re in the moment talking about something you love, fear, hate, dread, want or wish for.

It’s your unvarnished truth.

It’s what you say when no one’s looking or listening.

It’s what you say when you’re not trying to be smart or politically correct.

It’s what you say when you’re talking out your feelings without reservation or censoring.

Your voice is in your first draft.

Yet too often we edit out our voice.

We review what we’ve written and start woryying what people will think.

We start trying to impress or we clean up our prose so it’s grammatically correct.

We think about our planned remarks and decide they’re too risky so we dial them back.

Yet when we play it safe and take out the edge, our voice becomes generic.

We start sounding like everyone else.

Because we have taken out the one thing that makes us uniquely interesting.

Are you writing a blog or article today? Working on your manuscript? Planning a presentation?

Dare to be distinct.

Trust what you think and feel have the courage to voice it.

Have the courage to trust what you think and feel – and voice it.

Don’t edit yourself.

Go stream-of-conscious and allow your passionate point of view and take on life to come out and play.

The world is a better place when you have the courage to trust what you think and feel – and voice it.

“It’s not overly dramatic to say our destiny hangs upon the impression we make.” – Barbara Walters

A premise of my study of the art and science of “intrigue” is that many people are BBB —
busy, bored, been-there-heard-that.

It takes a lot to get their attention.

In fact, most people make up their mind in the first 60 seconds whether we’re worth their valuable time, mind and dime.

If we want to get our message in their mental front door,
we need to open with something they’ve haven’t heard before.

In other words, we’ve got to be intriguing.

Intriguing is defined as “causing curiosity; capturing attention.”

Common or classic quotes no longer have the power to cause curiosity or capture attention.

I like Edison, Einstein and Emerson as much as the next person.

In fact, Emerson’s “Life consists of what a man is thinking all day long” is a favorite.

It’s just that many people under 40 often don’t know (or care) who he is.

As soon as you launch into Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream . . . ” some people are inwardly rolling their eyes.

Please note: it’s not that MLK’s profound remarks aren’t true; they’re just not new.

What this means is, everytime we use familiar quotes or old quotes from “dated” sources, our audience tunes out and moves on because they conclude we’re not current or relevant.

So, what can we do?

We can hold ourselves accountable for crafting original content and for introducing CURRENT quotes that get people’s eyebrows up.

I’ve spent a lot of time culling the following quotes from recent articles and interviews.

My hope is you’ll be able to use these intriguing insights (with attribution) to capture interest in what you want to get across.

What’s different about these quotes? You have to been alive to be included.

Read ‘em and reap.

1. “I am in love with hope.” – Tuesdays with Morrie author Mitch Albom

2. “A lot of the time, I’m raising more questions than I’m answering.” – NPR’s Andy Carvin

3. “We are better than we think and not yet what we want to be.” – poet Nikki Giovanni

4. “I want to write songs that play themselves on stage – songs that sweep you up in their current.” – singer k.d. lang

5. “Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself.” – Tech pioneer Bill Gates

6. “I learned how to win by losing and not liking it.” – golfer Tom Watson

7. “No one wants to go out mid-sentence.” – Johnny Depp

8. “Have I pushed the envelope as much as I want to? Not yet. That’s why I’m still creatively hungry.” -movie director Steven Spielberg

9. “I have the world’s best job. I get paid to hang out in my imagination all day.” – novelist Stephen King

10. Reporter: “Would you say this rookie has exceeded your expectations?”
Yogi Berra: “I’d say he’s done more than that.”

11. “We need to treat each other with consideration. In my world, the squeaky wheel does not get the grease.” Tim Gunn

12. “Keep in mind that you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else is.” – Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes correspondent/curmudgeon

13. Enough about me. What do you think about me?” – Bette Midler’s character in the movie Beaches

14. When asked why he chose not to stage a summer concert tour for the first time in 17 years, country singer Kenny Chesney said, “My career is great. I don’t need more money or fame. I need more heart.”

15. “Anyone who consistently makes you feel bad is not helping you get better.” – Sam Horn

16. “Guard your good mood.” Meryl Streep

17. “When you create, you get a little endorphin rush. Why do you think Einstein looked like that?” – comedian Robin Williams

18. “Love elevates. Love is what you live for.” – Angelina Jolie

19. “As long as I’m in good shape, you’ll always see me smiling.” – Usain Bolt, World’s Fastest Human

20. “I started out wanting to write great poems, then wanting to discover true poems. Now, I want to be the poem.” – Mark Nepo

Want to know how to “hook and hinge” these current quotes into your work so they’re relevant to YOUR topic?

Email us at Sam@SamHorn.com and we’ll send you an article that explains how to tie-in each quote (with full attribution) to your material so the lights go on in your audience’s eyes and they get a relevant aha.