Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

It’s hard to know what to say these days.

Heck, it’s hard for most of us to know how to feel.

So it is no surprise that our normal ways of communicating are being tested, much like all the “normal ways” of life B.Co. (Before Coronavirus/COVID-19).

One of those normal ways of communicating is the passing greeting and salutations we send, often without thinking, in emails and texts.

I did this recently, popping off an email to an acquaintance, ending with my regular “Hope all is good in your world!” commentary. The statement made me pause.

How would such a…

Corona typewriter on table with crumpled pieces of paper beside it, a white sofa and yellow blanket behind, and a coffee mug.
Corona typewriter on table with crumpled pieces of paper beside it, a white sofa and yellow blanket behind, and a coffee mug.
Photo Credit: Kristin Hardwick on

It is a difficult time to be a human in the world right now.

Not insurmountable, but there are challenges. Aside from a sweeping global pandemic virus that currently has no cure, there is the social distancing and isolation, abrupt changes to schedules and lifestyles, fear for health and financial futures, worry about family and friends … the list goes on and on and could really be an entire piece in and of itself.

But you know the circumstances of your current existence, and probably don’t need me rehashing them for your mind to start spinning on.

Instead, we’re going…

“There are many realities. There are many versions of what may appear obvious. Whatever appears as the unshakeable truth, its exact opposite may also be true in another context. After all, one’s reality is but perception, viewed through various prisms of context.”―Amish Tripathi, The Immortals of Meluha

There’s this belief that grammar is uncompromising.

That’s part of what makes it so scary to the common person: How can we know what the right thing to do is, all the time?

But here’s an editorial secret I’ll let you in on: Grammar isn’t permanent.

But the question is, do you?

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

I watched an interesting conversation unfold on Twitter a few years ago, after Roxanne Gay retweeted an update from Kima Jones, where they were talking about how frustrating it is as an editor to tell people you want to work with them and have them “aww-shucks” their replies, decorated with insecurity.

Now, Gay and Jones are two women of colour in publishing who have very publicly talked about how much of their careers have been spent being told “no.” …

Photo by Davor Denkovski

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” ― Neil Gaiman

There are a lot of things that we think we know in this life.

Absolute truths that apply across the areas of our expertise.

Immutable facts that we apply to our writing and concepts, because they just are.

Perhaps you’ve heard this commentary before, or something similar: “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad.”

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

You’ve likely heard a variation of these lines before:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It is the ending to the poem “The Road Not Taken” (no, it isn’t even titled “The Road Less Traveled”) by Robert Frost, and it is one of the most misinterpreted pieces of writing in American literature.

This is the rallying cry for the outcasts, the outliers, the people who don’t live by the rules that the rest of society follows — sheep that they are!

From every…

Whether they’ll admit it aloud or not, most people, be they creatives or other professionals, would love to be a master at their craft.

Personally, I’d love having people hang on to my every word as the “master” of a particular topic (although currently, I’ve wondered if my greatest skill is consistently picking the slowest line, but I digress).

We love learning from the greats … but we cannot forget that becoming great takes time.

As we charge headlong into a world of increasingly fast and immediate returns, we may make the mistake of thinking our own growth should be…

Photo by David Peters

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” — Rudyard Kipling

When I was a little girl, I lived with my grandparents for a few years in a small, quiet town, nestled in the mountains of Maine.

We’re talking “I could play hopscotch on Main Street at the height of traffic hours, and the cars would carefully drive around me because no one wanted to be the one to hit Dale’s granddaughter” small and quiet. At the last census in 2020, Bethel had ~2,000 residents.

You could say quaint and rural are a part…

Photo by Alison Courtney on Unsplash

(This essay is based, in part, on the ending to the television series How I Met Your Mother, which aired over seven years ago in 2014 — if you are still avoiding spoilers, you probably shouldn’t read this!)

You’ve probably heard some variation of this writing advice nugget before:

  • “Murder your darlings” — Arthur Quiller-Couch
  • “In writing, you must kill all your darlings” — William Faulkner
  • “[K]ill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings” — Stephen King

There are arguments that other versions of the quote exist, even before Quiller-Couch’s…

a furry animal standing near laundry
a furry animal standing near laundry
Photo by Gwendolyn Anderson on Unsplash

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

I have a confession as a 40-year-old woman.

I only learned how to do laundry properly this year. (Sorry Mum.)

To be fair, I know how to do laundry, and have known since I was a teenager. The whole process, right down to fabric softeners and washing instruction tag icons.

But it was only this year that I learned how to complete the process without an utter sense of disinclination.

Like so…

Elisa Doucette

I’m a writer & editor who helps you make your own words even better. Travel the world for great stories to share. Love language is GIFs

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