Proverbs and The Sopranos2 min read

They say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Well, my road to hell is paved with cut cable cords.

I love to watch TV.

I start my morning with a comedy special on Netflix. (Sacred life rituals, am I right?) And end my day scrolling through the DVR to catch up on the newest medical drama. (No, that’s not how you place a central line. Do I need to show you how it’s done?)

The boob-tube’s always been there for me…

MTV got me through countless hospital stays. (Thanks, Vanilla Ice circa 1990.)

The Sopranos got me through 5 years of finals’ weeks at college. (I almost threw my remote through my TV during the series finale.)

The Great British Baking Show got me through my copywriter/copy editing transition. (Because food is love, and I’m jealous of Hollywood’s blue eyes.)

So imagine the knee-jerk reaction I had when I saw this meme:

“Unsuccessful people watch TV daily.”

I wanted to throw the whole internet away.

How dare someone imply my TV habit was making me unsuccessful.

Yes, my Coca-Cola habit is disintegrating my stomach lining.
Yes, my insomnia habit is aging me faster than gravity.
Yes, my craft habit is costing me street cred.

But my TV habit isn’t making me unsuccessful.

It actually makes me better.

Because I’m a storyteller. And storytellers must hone their craft.

Reading books is one way of learning how to tell stories. It’s not the only way.

Movies tell stories. 30-minute comedy specials tell stories. Hell, ballets tell stories (even if they bore me to death).

Anyone who claims they’re a storyteller, but doesn’t watch TV, isn’t honing their craft or expanding their knowledge base.

They’re showing you they only know 1 path to success.

So I created a new meme. The Successful Autumn meme.

Know what makes you successful? Personalizing a proverb like I did above.

These common expressions creep their way into copy and bore your readers. But if you rewrite the proverb and link it to your life, it causes your readers to pay attention and connects them to your words.

This copy edit tip turns a hum-drum proverb into an interesting, attention-grabbing thought.

Give this copy edit tip a try the next time you want to include a proverb in your writing. It worked for Stephen King, so it can work for you.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.