I'm Giving Up the Hook - My Readers Are Not Fish

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 1st Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Humor

A Challenge to the Reader: Just how many clichés can you find in the article? What will you win for getting the correct number and letting me know in a comment? A personal mention in my next article, now how’s that for a hook?

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

When you have been around the block as many times, as I have, you think you’ve seen it all, been there, done that, and believe there's nothing new under the sun. Well, you could have bowled me over with a feather when I found out it just took bait to get readers. If I would have known that, I might have written articles sooner.

I will bet there are just umpteen other expressions real online writers use in this day and age that quickly get them to the next level, and I am considering using them instead of producing original content.

Will I Be Left Standing at the Altar?

Granted, I have a valid excuse for coming late to the party. One, I’m a recovering junkie and two; I ran a women’s recovery home for 20 years and three; I thought it took more original words to craft content and I bet there’s a four, five and six if I put my mind to it.

Course; running the recovery home, I was so often up the creek without a paddle that I didn’t have the time or the inclination to find out just how popular that “hooking the reader” expression was.

Back-Story

I know the devil’s in the details so although I have to keep a watchful eye on the word count, it might fill in the gaps if I give you the history, so let’s get this show on the road. I ran a women’s recovery home for more than twenty years.

On most days, I was busy as a one armed paperhanger and even when it was a slow day, I was still busy as a bee helping other women from all walks of life and myself recover.

Some days, I just had to have the patience of Job to do my job, but in for a penny, in for a pound, so I didn’t do much but counsel and put out fires. And of course, in my personal world, I was paying the piper for my own actions, so learning about online writing just had to be put on the back burner.

Keep on Keepin' On

When the recovery house closed, I was behind the eight ball and almost to the end of my rope. Granted, there are many people in that same boat – losing a job, and it became a race against time to figure out what I would do. Sometimes the winds of change blow suddenly and without warning and hit you like a ton of bricks. But the strong don’t cry over spilt milk.

So, what’s a girl to do? I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, so the bright lights and big city weren’t for me. I wasn’t the drop-dead gorgeous kick-ass girl I once was, and I was getting a little long in the tooth to consider a completely fresh start, but I didn’t have time to lick my wounds, I had to overcome my fears and find gainful employment.

It was funny to me; looks are deceiving, so although I appeared cool as a cucumber on the outside, inside I was scared sh%^L#@@. Note to readers: My mother would have apoplexy if I wrote the word. Be that as it may, a part of me was chomping at the bit to explore my options now that I had time. And speaking of time, the sands of time were falling like leaves on an autumn day so I relied on the tried and true, sink or swim, do or die attitude I’ve had most of my natural life.

For the life of me, I can’t believe that I didn’t use my time more wisely, when I was running the recovery house. Sure, I wrote a 400,000-word curriculum, but it begs the question why didn’t I use all these common expressions and save myself the hassle of original words?

Lightning Strikes

Then it hit me like a bolt out of the blue; it finally dawned on me, I had wasted time reading people like Strunk and White, Sherry Ellis, Stephen King, William Zinsser, and Andrea Lunsford about writing.

Why they would have a writer never using poetic license and from the word, “Go”, they all frowned on adding those chock full of descriptive adverbs!

With all due respect, they wrote large volume books about the craft of writing or fiction, I, on the other hand, was simply trying to tap the online article market. What could I learn from them about online article writing?

Rainbows and Silver Linings

Looking for the rainbow and silver lining, I reckoned from reading the online old timers that the way to write online articles is about hooks and familiar phrases; bottom line, it’s the increasingly apparent – greatest thing since sliced bread - everybody knows the lingo –jargon and catch phrases. It ain’t rocket science.

The light bulb went off, I may be a greenhorn in the world of articles, but I am a writer, so I was not up the creek without a paddle, I just had to put the oars in another pond.

Although I did not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater in my writing, I had to pay attention to what Google searched. It’s always important to know which side your bread is buttered on.

(See, even ending a sentence with a preposition is okay and enclosing in parenthesis just helps the reader in on our little secret.)

I Didn’t Just Fall Off the Turnip Truck

I know stuff, but I never want to be that dog that can’t hunt or learn a new trick, so although it felt like a Catch 22 about writing, I knew I had to study online writers. I wanted to make hay while the sun was shining and I had the time to learn the ins and outs of online writing.

After reading so many, I learned I didn’t have to do the heavy lifting of research, links and original words to have my fifteen minutes of fame.

Any bellyaching on my part about learning real writing would have probably, and in all likelihood, fallen on deaf ears, so I told myself, “Get over it. What’s done is done, and there is nothing you can do about the time you wasted reading those book authors."

Get Over It

So I wrote a few articles and ran them up the flagpole to see how it went. I got readers! I looked at this as having found my greener pasture without leaving home – after all, I was still writing so I was following my dream.

Course, I was still caught in the original content, research and grammar trap. So, there were mixed messages – do people like original - extra crispy or, oh, sorry, the train derailed.

Is it a New Day Dawning?

Moving on and forward in my new approach, today, well today, I won’t be left at the altar of online article writing while the band plays on. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that is just so me, cause I’m not one to give up the ghost – I just pull myself up by my bootstraps and get on with the business of living (or in this case, the business of online writing).

So I had to analyze, scrutinize and formulize the solution. And while I didn’t have a clue when I started out, I saw old school writing was taking up too much space in my head. I had to nip it in the bud and focus on what common expressions online writers were using.

I felt like the dimmest bulb in the socket that day, I’m telling you. I was madder than a wet hen when I realized the depth and breadth of the expressions I had never considered using.

So Many Saying the Same Thing

It was time to think in the box, no more of that outside stuff for me. I had to quit being the tortoise running the race for the long haul and think like the hare – the early bird catches the worm.

Virtual Role Models

With those Sixty One Million, Two Hundred Thousand writers as virtual mentors and role models, I found that their wisdom was ripe for the pickings, the proverbial low hanging fruit. I had to take a worldview, see which way the wind was blowing, and view online writing with a new pair of glasses.

If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it

While Strunk and White, King, Zinsser, Lunsford, and Ellis may be wise as an owl with their readers, do they really understand the online reader. I didn’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, so, I pondered and cogitated and I asked myself, “Who you gonna believe, those who wrote yesterday or today”?

I probably needed to shun that old school advice and plant my writing feet firmly in the camp of clichés. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I forgot.

My last ditch effort at finding a place in the online writing world opened my eyes. I think I’ve got my finger on the pulse of this online writing. When Google speaks and ranks, we listen. I had to make an effort to become the poster child for the ever-popular clichés.

Poster Child for Clichés – Interesting Ring to That Label

I like the letter J and wondered about a few of those trusty standby words and phrases that we’ve all come to know and love. Here’s a partial list as my contribution to banish hard writing.

So many have guided me that it seems like the only fitting thing to do, I can kill two birds with one stone, I like my creative juices flowing when I make Smart Art, and it may help another writer hook their fish.

Too Awful to Contemplate

Alas, however much I try to get with the program, I still respect my readers enough not to think of them as fish. So, while I get the drift of many of the clichés, I am not fishing today. However, it is April Fool’s Day, so I hope you enjoyed this spoof as much as I enjoyed writing it.


For additional article by Marilyn Davis that do not include hackneyed expressions but original content, just click here.
For advice on hooking your readers, just Google it, spin it and be done.
For more stock in trade clichés to avoid try: Writing Tips: Publishers list of Phrases for Writers to Avoid like the Plague

Thought about your own online writing career? Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight and knowledge. Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.

Credits

Google: Screen Shot
Overused..... and How to Hook the Reader: Marilyn Davis, SmartArt and Pixabay
Fishing Hooks and Turnip Truck: Pixabay

Tags

April Fools Day Writing, Cliched Phrases, Cliches, Humour About Cliches, Poking Fun At Hooking Readers, Readers Are Not Fish

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, Mark, thank you for the quick moderation and Star. Also for slogging through the cliches :) Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

I counted 80 clichés but I may have missed some.
I was always taught to avoid clichés like the plague. Lol

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, Connie, thank you for your participation in the contest. I should have stated the dealine for entry, however, you need not worry, your guess is recorded and I will keep you informed of your standing in the game :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar spirited
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

You will have to give up writing and take up fishing.

You certainly throw us out a lot of nice bait.

Nicely written in the effort of putting all of those cliches into one article.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning,Spirited, thank you. It was a laborous process. There were just way too many to choose from and I would have to stop and make a final decision on which to include. There were several that I just couldn't bring myself to type, though. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

well me darling don't know about cliches but I love that you were a kick ass gorgeous girl....the best cliche for me...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Carolina, that's a drop dead kickass gorgeous girl to you my friend :) Fun writing. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

There were so many cliches here I gave up counting when I lost track. For the life of me I'm bowled over you go girl!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Steve, and just so you know, I hold your comments with the highest regards, not withstanding your valuted standing within the global community.....in other words, thank you, Steve. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

You're just joshing us! No way I can count that high unless my shoes are off! Happy April Fool's Day to you, too! I laughed and laughed (and snorted) my way through this piece -- esp your take on "shitless!"

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl - we both live in the south - kick 'em off, the Creator gave us toes to help with large numbers. Course with this one, you'd need to whole family participating. Yuck-yuck to you, too. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

;) I'd need to use all my family and some neighbor kids, too! ;)

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author avatar Mariah
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Well Marilyn..this is a fine way to tell me you're not going fishing with me anymore! Have you forgotten who picked you up when you passed out with the shock of that nice man at the harbour telling us we needed bait to catch fish..and don't get me started on that turnip truck..I'm definitely taking the bus next time..and what about the time we fell out the boat into the water and came out with a salmon in our mouths..how lucky were we!! so I'm throwing my dummy out of the pram, I'm not playing with you anymore..ha ha ha..loved this post Marilyn still laughing, so just thought I'd join you in the spirit of humour with my comments..really well done

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah, and to think that man on the dock thought we'd not have any supper. He had no idea of the resolve we had about fishing. That was the best salmon I ever put into my mouth. Thanks for your addition. I will get over the cliches in a bit, after all, no one can do something 24/7....it could take a few days I see. ~Marilyn

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author avatar wonder
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

A lovely eye opener.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Wonder - with your 20/20 vision now, let's hope it helped :) Just keeping up the cliches, as I'm sure you realized. Thank you for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

What a day!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, I appreciate you reading and commenting. Cliches are still going to be with us, but I hope that this article helped people see how overused some are. What a day I had writing it - sorry for the play on words. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

Well that was fun from beginning to end Marilyn .
My old friend had a saying ...D'you want a ding in the listener ? ...and ...Does your mother know you're out ? ..and Bob' s your uncle ....I heard them so many times ..I thought cliches were going out of fashion when she passed away....but you have saved the day and brought them back with a gusto.. Yippee !
I look forward to round two , and three and four ....
God bless you
Stella >< :-)

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Stella, there was a cartoon years ago, "Here I come to save the day, that means that Mighty Mouse is on the way" was part of the theme song. With your comment, I'm feeling rather like Mighty Mouse. Rounds 2, 3, or 4 might just have to wait until my super hero cape is altered. Thanks for all you added to the article with your comment, Stella. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Apr 2014 (#)

Beautiful, creative effort, Marilyn. You have put your heart and soul into this post to make it so rewarding to you and us as well - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva, this was a run experiment. I did not use all of them. I was surprised at some of the cliches, I was guilty of using a few in my earlier writings. I guess we use them either from habit or we "know everyone will understand." However, I do want to write better, so will give us most. Thanks for your comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Margaret Michel
8th Jul 2014 (#)

As an English teacher, I loved this!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
9th Jul 2014 (#)

Good evening, Margaret; thank you very much. I appreciate the comment and follow. I am now following you as well. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Joyce Singha
13th Jul 2014 (#)

If cliches deliver the message in a pithy manner, they'll work :)

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Joyce, I hope that the tongue in cheek message was clear. It is not easy to string this many cliches together, yet I've read some articles that were serious that had just as many. Thanks for your comment. ~Marilyn

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