While staring aimlessly at our bag of cat food the other day (don't ask), I read the paragraph on the back of the bag.
Here is said paragraph, copied directly:
"Step outside the ordinary. It's tall peaks and high places. Campfire smoke riding mountain breezes. A world reserved only for the adventurous... and cats. It's the peak of mealtime excitement, with enticing aromas, appealing shapes and wide open flavors, including chicken, beef and turkey. Plus accents of garden veggies and grill flavor. Best of all, it's just one of four delicious destinations Friskies offers. So open a bag. Unlock an adventure. And Feed the Senses."
For reference (as if you couldn't get it from the description) this is Friskies Grillers Blend.
So what can the copy on Friskies teach me about writing?
Surely there are depths to explore, but here's what I'm taking from my brief analysis of the Friskies bag.
1. There can be a level of earnestness that borders on ridiculous. When I re-read the first things I wrote (and even some later things) they come off as painfully intense and overwrought. There's a level of skill at work when we can make the reader feel those intense emotions without smashing them over the head with them. I am not saying this is something I've mastered, believe me. It's something I work on all the time.
2. Don't take yourself too seriously."A world reserved only for the adventurous... and cats." Seriously? Right now my cat is not planning a Himalayan mountain trek with his hiking club. His single goal this week is to shag the neighbor's cat (which we're not letting him do). It is key to be vulnerable with your writing at times. During the query fest last week, I have to be honest: the first couple of queries really stung. Really stung. But then I was able to shake it off and use all of that great advice.
3. Be precise with language. I'm not going to do a sentence by sentence assessment of the Friskies copy, because I think that borders on mean. I do think we can all strive to use words in a better way. I hope we are always growing in our use of language and learning more delectable, stunning, breathtaking and delightful words. When you love words, it's your responsibility to use them well.
So there you have it. Unlock an adventure, on me.
What wisdom did you find in the ordinary lately?