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Opening lines

Arlene Hisiger

Women at work: Don't let opening lines hold you hostage

Democrat & Chronicle NewspaperJune 3, 2013
Written by


Arlene Hisiger 

What inspires you to write?

Let’s face it: Whether you tweet, post on Facebook, or are writing an article, it all boils down to words.

While public speaking is often cited as one of life’s most feared activities, choosing just the right words to convey an opinion, elucidate a complex subject, or craft a business document has a paralyzing effect on many as well.

Even gregarious folks who can freely engage you in conversation on a range of topics freeze at the thought of putting the proverbial “pen to paper.”

True, the permanence of the written word, particularly in the Internet age, demands more caution and should lead to greater care in word choice. However, that need not be a deterrent to writing with ease and flair.

Those who dread or put off writing their documents are typically held hostage by the opening lines. As is true of first impressions, with written documents you don’t get a second chance to draw in your audience. You must have an arresting opening statement or risk losing readers to the lure of myriad other distractions.

So relax and take in the scenery. That’s right, instead of dreading writer’s block and repeatedly coming up dry while racking your brain for writing prompts, allow yourself to be open to all that is around you.

To conjure up a fascinating opening, you don’t have to re-create the wheel. Perhaps a bumper sticker, a slice of a newscast, or a snippet of overheard conversation can be the impetus for getting your writing project started.

Questions or intriguing declarations such as, “If you already know all there is to know about marketing, skip this article,” are common strategies employed to catch the reader’s elusive attention.

Once you’ve got your opening, let those words roll. Stay in the moment; write now, edit later.

Arlene Hisiger is a freelance writer whose passion is writing about people and the arts. Contact her: Wordtailor@aol.comWebsite: www.wordtailor.net/. This column is written by members of the Rochester Women’s Network (http://rwn.org/).

Contact Arlene at 585-442-6108 or arlene@wordtailor.net
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