Whoa, whoa, whoa Feelings…. Really: Whoa!

Can You Feel It

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I feel that saying you feel that something is true is redundant.

More importantly, it covers something up. Why tell your reader you feel that the Party In Power is wrong? Why say you feel that the sky is blue? Or that you feel that people shouldn’t do such and such things?

Because we’ve learned that when you use the word “feel” what comes next is supposed to be unassailable. Guess what? It’s assailable… and you want it to be. What you offer is meaningless in the public commons, or most discourse, unless it’s possible that you’re wrong. It’s possible that you are wrong – nearly always, and every time you’re saying or doing anything interesting.

So provide your reader with clarity about what you mean, and give the reader some reasons to care, maybe to believe. Caring is more important, because then you’ve engaged and communicated.

When you look over something and see you’ve introduced a sentence by saying “I feel that…” first just drop those three words. Next look for the deeper truth you were covering up by using them. Then write that truth, and consider the relation between those two sentences. Now you have a structure.

That’s the way to revise your work. I don’t feel it’s true. It just is.

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One thought on “Whoa, whoa, whoa Feelings…. Really: Whoa!

  1. I think it’s instructive to have a little list of mental short cuts that the brain takes when writing/editing/rewriting. My list includes: “I feel”, “I believe”, “very”, “on the other hand”, “alternatively”, and a half dozen others. They’re little bits of mental chaff I throw haphazardly into my writing. Several professors were quick to point out this mental laziness of mine in term papers and now I almost automatically reject them during the re-write process.

    Christine: I’m loving this. Thank you for putting it together. You do a body good!!

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