On writing.

Do you hear voices when you write? Maybe not actual voices, but echos of people who have influenced how you write?

I hear the TA in English 5 announcing he'll take off 5 points for every inessential form of "to be." I think of my English teacher who told me "that" was a four-letter word and should be used cautiously. I recall Stephen King saying the road to hell is paved with adverbs.

Then there's Strunk & White who set the bar impossibly high...

on writing
on writing

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."

Don't get me started on the voice of my Mom, the English teacher ...

And now there's Billy Collins' catchy poem to throw in the mix; an entirely new list of words I shouldn't ever use. Nevertheless that's going to be a challenging habit to develop. (See what I did there?!)

See for yourself if this changes your word selections!

A Word About Transitions

Moreover is not a good way to start a poem though many begin somewhere in the middle.

Secondly does not belong at the opening of your second stanza.

Furthermore is to be avoided no matter how long the poem.

Aforementioned is rarely found in poems at all, and for good reason.

Most steer clear of notwithstanding, and the same goes for

nevertheless, however, as a consequence, in any event,

subsequently, and as we have seen in the previous chapters.

The appearance of finally                                                    in your final stanza will be of no help.

All of which suggests (another no-no) that poems don’t need to tell us where we are

or what is soon to come. For example, the white bowl of lemons

on a table by a window can go anywhere all by itself

and, in conclusion, so can seven elephants standing in the rain.

- Billy Collins