Today, I finish the thought I started on Earth Day. What does Earth Day have to do with business writing and editing? Well, one of the mantras for Earth Day is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Today, l look at writing through a “Recycle” lens.
Recycle – when words become wisdom
At first blush, the idea of “recycling” content sounds bad. The pressure for “new, exciting, original content” is intense. But sometimes “existing content”, “old content”, “previously used content” – pick your term – is in fact the best, most valuable stuff.
Sometimes, an idea or a set of words is so true and so powerful that it stands the test of time. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Be kind” or the Gettysburg Address. These words are repeated and passed on and remembered. They are words that guide us in tough times and see us through to better times. These words eventually become known as something else – wisdom.
Wisdom bears repeating
When you think of the billions of words that are written, very few ascend to the realm of wisdom. But when they do, there is value in repeating them – whether to help us make a difficult choice or to share with future generations. My daughter may roll her eyes as I impart these nuggets. But I want to share my wisdom – such as it is – with her while I can, in hopes she’ll be better prepared to handle life’s inevitable curves.
So looking back over my Earth Day-themed week, I find that “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” fits quite nicely into my writer’s toolkit. What do you think?