Why quote Einstein when you can quote yourself?

Copywriting & Einstein Quotes

We all love a good quote from a reputable name. I do too. By associating our work (and thus ourselves) with an authority on the subject, their prestige, eminence, credibility or down right wit rubs off on us. There’s nothing wrong with that. Unless everybody is doing it. Which is pretty much what’s happens most of the time.

We probably know more about Einstein through his hit parade of pithy statements than his theories on relativity and quantum physics. Some of us may have used Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ words to express the reality of death and dying. Others of us may have sought to inspire our readers by dipping into words of wisdom of Maya Angelou. I am also guilty of all the above.

There is nothing more beautifully said than a quotable quote.

However, the downside of quoting quotes is that it becomes cliché. Just as citing an overused phrase or opinion betrays a lack of original thought, so too, citing yet another quote can lead us to the conclusion that the writer is riding on another’s originality rather than offering a fresh new thought (or an old thought freshly said) to our understanding.

After all, isn’t that what good writing is about? To make visible the invisible; to express what the reader cannot express; to simplify the complicated; to give a fresh take on things.

Perhaps the most challenging (but definitely most rewarding) of all writing is to compose an original thought in the form of a quote. You only have to write one to experience the exhilaration of “poetic champions composing” (to paraphrase Van Morrison).

If you are serious about good writing, I recommend you try your hand at one original quote. It helps if you acquaint yourself with literary devices; they hold many formulas to quotes that stick.

5 tips for writing a quotable quote of your own:

Be true to your self and your reader

Live the experience through the words you employ (and embody)

Feel it as part of you and the human condition

Make it mean something that’s relatable to the reader

Use patterns of expression (see Literary Devices: The Herbs ‘n’ Spices of Compelling Copywriting.)

8 quotable quotes born from original thinking:

These are written by participants of my copywriting course group project: Climate of Ingenuity (true stories about people using their technical, engineering and/or scientific ingenuity to address climate change). The brief was to advocate the need for human ingenuity in the face of a climate crisis. The following quotes were used as editorial pull-quotes; one for each of the eight stories:

“The earth’s resources are finite; the human spirit of ingenuity is not.”

Jo-Anne Lewis

“Progress is not always about looking forward, but also looking up, down and around.”

Tahnee Moore

“The most renewable of all energy sources is the human spirit in times of adversity.”

Aaron Hollingworth

“Nature has grown the solutions all along.”

Eliza Nolan

“We have always tried to dictate our natural environment, now we should take heed while she still has life in her.”

James Holliday

“At last! Mother Nature’s tolerance for our selfish, destructive and consumptive human nature has reached its limit.”

Jeremy Gaedtke

“Whilst harnessing resources to fuel progress is one vital aspect of human ingenuity, giving back to the environment by way of protection and care is the obligatory other.”

Suchismita Saha Chowdhury

“We have nothing but our limitless ingenuity to reverse the effects of our unlimited indulgences.”

Marguerite Bravay

With a little finesse and a lot of feeling, you too can speak volumes with just a few choice words. It may not be easy but it’s well worth the effort.

To quote from yours truly:

“Writing an original quote begins with a meaningful idea and ends with a meticulous edit.”

Meanwhile, my online copywriting course’s latest timetable is up and running and ready to take your booking now. It’s still the one copywriting course that makes you great at writing for all types of media.

Originally posted 2015-03-12 04:38:58.

One Response

  1. Quotes can be overused, and personally if I see someone famous has been quoted, my eye glaze over. It’s usually something I’ve seen before. Or something that doesn’t necessarily fit the prose. It’s an obvious but ingenious idea to quote yourself. You’ll actually get the reader to read it and you’ll also have something that will suit the brief.

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