I remind myself that “modern” is an outdated term. I assume it lost favor to “current” at some point, and now is more likely “relevant.”
Words will say things you don’t realize, unless you keep up. When you’re writing copy for millennials, you don’t want to sound old-fashioned using words like modern. Old-fashioned may have fallen out of favor as well. It actually is hard to keep up.
You can say different words that sound better. For example, take this sentence: “That big old building is falling in on itself.” Change it to: “The remarkable edifice recalls days gone by.” Or “a boring event” becomes “a memorable experience.” Or “old stuff” becomes “pre-loved.” Just think of these edits as word sweeteners. But whether it’s actually sugar-coating or artificial sweetener, someone else can decide.
Words matter. And the ones we prefer, the ones that draw our attention, tell us something about ourselves – and where we find meaning and purpose.
Last year, I worked with a client – Mike Tate, an executive coach and career counselor – on a book to help people find an ideal career at any stage. Interwoven in his principles is the idea that there are certain words that we like to hear. In the introduction to The White Shirt, he writes: “Fortunately for everyone living today, your career purpose is already woven in you. We only have to step back from the outside voices and know three things: the languages we crave to be around, the things we love to tinker with, and the big question, challenge, or problem that will not let us go until we act on it.”
I am a copywriter. I like the word copy. I like the word writer. I like the words ad, publication, agency, marketing, creativity, headline, newsletter, edit. You know what else I like? I like the word content (the version emphasizing the first syllable). If someone says, “I need website content,” my ears perk up. Content is a really good word to me.
“Content writer” is one type of copywriting. However, there is another type called direct response. There’s a lot of promise of profitability in this field, and I struggled over whether I should move in that direction. This is a format that creates sales letters, designs packages, uses triggers, makes offers. It is a needed part of the marketing economy. But I found that each time I took a step in that direction, I shut down. I got a tightness in my forehead. I had an internal rejection button that I never understood. It’s still just words, right? It’s still writing, right? Yes, but I am not drawn to those words. They do not call to me. Instead, I like the word content.
That’s what this newsletter is: content. It takes energy to write, yet the energy is renewable. I get more the next day. If you find something that fits your purpose, you can keep going.
In my copy, I use the word “consider” far too often. It’s my go-to transition. If I’ve got to write a sentence of introduction, then get to the bullet points I want to convey, the word “consider” is a bridge. For example, “If you want to [blah, blah, blah], consider the following tips.”
Why would I like the word “consider” so much? It’s how I live my life. Definitions include “think carefully about something” or “look attentively at” or “take into account when making an assessment.” I consider all the time. No wonder it’s my go-to for transition.
Yet I recognize I overuse that word, and also that concept. So I make an effort to put another word in its place, and also to put action items on my plate. Sometimes moving forward requires acting counter to your instincts. For me, that equals less consideration, more action.
So, what are your favorite words? What languages do you like to be around? What does that say about how you approach life?
In the beatitudes from the book of Matthew, Jesus stands on a mountain and talks about those who are blessed. This is my thought. If you think about which beatitude you like most, that might tell you something about how you approach life and the things of God.
I am drawn to the word comfort; some are drawn to the word righteousness. Or of being pure. Or peacemaking. Or being merciful. All of the words are needed, obviously. But if I had to pick one, comfort would be my word. My finger would scroll down the page and linger here: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And that’s what I want within this newsletter: a comforting voice.
I have a friend who is more concerned with making things right, and she might linger on, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” That means we look at situations differently. And we might end up with one of us saying, “Don’t worry. It will be OK.” And another saying, “It’s not OK. Something must be done.”
From a broader view, we can agree with each other: It’s not OK, and something must be done, so do what you can or support the cause that calls you, but don’t worry and take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this, and ultimately, eventually, it will be OK.
We just need a bridge – a way to consider, you might say – the other point of view. Consideration is not a bad thing to have on hand.
Enjoy your magnificent journey.
— Minnie Lamberth
The Magnificent Journey, Vol. 1, Issue 6