This past week Pauline Phillips died. You probably knew her as Dear Abby. She died of Alzheimer’s disease at age 94. She was the most widely syndicated newspaper columnist in the world. For over 60 years she dispensed answers to people’s most perplexing questions about marriage, children, and jobs. Every question she posted was given a well thought out answer, often times telling people to look within themselves to change instead of expecting the situation to change. She was still “blooming” into her 80’s and sounds like my kind of woman. Her life could be summed up by the following Swedish toast that she liked to quote: “Fear less; hope more. Eat less; chew more. Talk less; say more. Hate less; love more."
This quote speaks to me as a writer. In the art of writing, emphasis is constantly placed on saying more with fewer words and eliminating unnecessary words in all sizes of manuscripts. In other words, don’t be “wordy.” Everything I write can usually be pared down by one-third. The discipline of staying in the allotted word count is a real challenge.
I recently participated in a radio interview about my book, Born Three Times. I was given fifteen minutes to answer questions about my story and I wanted to make every word count. I sweated bullets trying to figure out what the interviewer would ask me. I listened to other interviews done in the same format and heard other writers droning on about what they had written. A fear of doing the same thing motivated me to action. With pen in hand, I came up with six questions that I thought I would be asked and wrote out my answers to those questions. My goal was to “talk less and say more.” There were a few “ums and aahs” when I was surprised by a question I didn’t anticipate. My interview was aired on Toginet.com, an online radio station that posts interviews with new authors. Now I am allowed to use it for my personal use to promote my book. You can hear for yourself how well I did.To find my interview, click on the Radio Interview tab at the top of this post. Click the black button to start the audio. Thank you for listening and feel free to comment with your thoughts.