Fine art and fashion go hand in hand. Click here to see today’s latest fashion creation by Jan Kirstein.
“Wild and Wicked 2” by Jan Kirstein. Click images to see enlargements.
Writing advice from Coco Chanel
by Elaine Bennett
No doubt you’ve heard of Coco Chanel, the French fashion designer who liberated women from stiff, formal clothing and popularized the still-ubiquitous “Little Black Dress.” Her fashion advice remains legendary—just Google “remove one accessory” and your screen will fill with blogs and articles quoting or misquoting her famous dictum
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
But while Chanel intended that as fashion advice, I think it works just as well for writers.
How many adverbs have you used? Surely you don’t need them all. And those adjectives—wouldn’t a few descriptive phrases enliven your work more?
Of course, before you can revise—your outfit or your writing—you have to create it first. Write until you’ve finished the draft. But before it “leaves the house,” give it a good once-over. Is every word, every sentence, necessary? If it isn’t—copy, cut, and paste. Slap it into the writer’s equivalent of a jewelry box, the Outtakes file.
“In order to be irreplaceable one must be different.”
While we’re on the subject of revising, I’d lop off “In order” at the top of that sentence. But let’s not blame Chanel; perhaps it got added in translation.
“To be irreplaceable, one must be different.” I tell my writers a variation of this all the time. And my clients, too. They talk about subjects that thousands—millions—of people have already talked about: diversity, ethics, management. How can they differentiate themselves from the crowd? By weaving their own stories into the mix. No one else has had yourexperiences, has your perspective.
Make your communications irreplaceable—and your ideas memorable—by being your own, unique self. (Little Black Dress optional.)