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Brandishing the Pen: The Art of Fencing Words

Jan Verhoeff

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When responding to a Lance Winslow post on the blog I noticed my words were sharper than intended this morning. After rereading my entry, I considered deleting the post, but then I wondered - why?

I wasn’t making any comments that were intended to hurt anyone, although I probably offended people who stand on that line of propriety where offence is easily taken. My words were offered in joking response to other comments, and nothing I said was particularly offensive, considering the context.

However, words can be a mighty sword. They can wield a man useless, or raise him to utter accomplishment.

As a writer, I’m often faced with the responsibility of my words, how they might be taken or mistaken for meaning something else, and why I should be careful what I write. My purpose as a writer comes to mind. I write to make a difference. Do I?

What kind of difference I make depends on which end of the sword I use.

My words are found all over the Internet, various paper publications, and on forums, boardroom tables, and living rooms the nation over, and around the world. What kind of influence to they have, and who is responsible for that?

When writing for publication, I generally consider the reader.

      • Who will read my words?
      • Where will they be read?
      • What context will they be taken under?
      • Why would they make a difference?
      • How could I improve my influence?

This morning, I realized after posting on the blog, that all my written words are ‘for publication’. Does that make my honest opinion and impulsive thoughts less valuable or more valuable and who is ultimately responsible for the offenses taken as a result of my pen?

I reached back in my mind to a time when I heard a very wise man say, “It’s your opinion, state it with authority and allow it to fall where it may. I fought a war for your right to state your mind. ”

And still I wonder as I continue to wield the pen that writes the words millions read, how far reaching are my words and what impact will they have over time?

Jan Verhoeff is a writer, a copywriter, and a marketer. Her strengths empower others to fulfill life long goals and ambitions with encouragement and spirit. Sign up for a FREE subscription to “The Branding Iron” an online Ezine/Newsletter available monthly at and learn important tips for building your own business online.


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