It’s writing advice. But writer Bob Hostetler tackles it from a new and amusing angle by giving us writing advice from Shakespeare.
In his piece “8 Ways William Shakespeare Can Make You a Better Writer,” a guest post on one of the Writer’s Digest blogs, Hostetler doesn’t break much new ground, content-wise. His excellent recommendations include study your craft, know your audience, use humor. The same writing advice you’ve read a million times from a million sources, including this blog. But he catches your eye—and perhaps your attention—with subheads that make liberal use of the pronoun “Thy.”
He doesn’t overdo the gimmick. After the first three subheads, he reverts to more modern language. And he backs up the concept with something meatier, too—weaving examples from Shakespeare’s life and work throughout, as here:
Do Something New
Shakespeare started his career where others did—imitating Chaucher [sic], Milton, Spencer, and others. He not only borrowed and stole from other writers (as everyone did back then), but also chose subjects to compete simultaneously with competitors’ plays. What set him apart from everyone else, however, were his powers of innovation. He invented new words. He coined memorable phrases. He took old plots and gave them new twists.
“He took old plots and gave them new twists.” Hostetler has done much the same thing here.
A new perspective taps a different part of your brain
Why is that important? A new perspective taps into a different part of your brain. It can capture your attention in a different way, or get you to hear something old as if for the first time. As Hostetler reminds us:
Whatever you’re writing, ask: what’s new about it? What’s fresh? Are you breaking new ground or at least putting a new twist on something?
If the answer to that last question is no, find something else to write about.