What you can learn from The Cat in the Hat
Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Happy birthday Dr. Seuss! My 7-year-old daughter and her classmates made Dr. Seuss hats yesterday and have been wearing mismatched socks and clothing all work in celebration.
Here’s a good article about what writers can learn from Dr. Seuss. In reading the five points I noticed they could apply to just about anything else, too:
1. See the fun in what you do and share it with others.
2. It’s OK to be different.
3. Exaggerate if you have to.
I tend to basically exaggerate in life, and in writing, it’s fine to exaggerate. I really enjoy overstating for the purpose of getting a laugh. It’s very flattering, that laugh, and at the same time it gives pleasure to the audience and accomplishes more than writing very serious things. For another thing, writing is easier than digging ditches. Well, actually that’s an exaggeration. It isn’t. – Dr. Seuss
That reminds me of advice I got from Erma Bombeck in a letter many years ago. I wrote to ask her if it’s OK to exaggerate the truth as a writer and she said the truth is like bubble gum, you can stretch it, play with it, even swallow it.
4. Keep it short. This might be my favorite. As a writer I make my living as a short copy specialist and write best in 500 word chunks or less (one reason I like blogging). The “keep it short” maxim applies well to conversation and other forms of communication too.
It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.
So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.
That’s why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader’s relief is.
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