Today Oprah Winfrey bids us farewell on the last show of her epic 25 seasons. And while she has inspired and influenced millions around the globe to “live their best life,” her love of the written word and her legendary book club has ignited careers, launched bestsellers and encouraged a more educated, caring world.

In Oprah’s honour, and word lovers everywhere, here are 15 things writers know for sure:

1) Writers know how to roll out a great story; it’s part of their creative DNA, their toolbox of talents, their raison d’être – not everyone can tell a tale with power, panache and pacing. Think of the last time your friend told a joke and forgot the punchline.

2) Writers know the true meaning and proper usage of raison d’être. (See above)

3) Writers know how to help you tell your story in your voice – about your life, your achievements or your dog.

4) Writers know how to reflect, review and respond… and make others do the same. Think of the last movie, play, song or book that had an impact on you… it probably had an engaging storyline, fabulous lyrics or a killer narrative created by someone who knew how to string a few perfect words together.

5) Writers know how to move people to tears, or to action. Powerful stories tap into our dreams, myths, hopes and fears. They can be catalysts for ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

6) Writers know that best-selling copy is far more than the sum of its grammar, accurate spelling and proper use of the subjunctive.

7) Writers know that good writing is sensual writing. They have uncanny descriptive powers that can imbue a story with all the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Good writing puts you in the moment… your pulse quickening, eyes widening, mouth watering. You get the picture.

8) Writers know that compelling words and high-impact speeches can change the course of history. Think Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

9) Writers know that good content trumps everything – substance wins over style – and good writing has the power to inform, entertain and enlighten.

10) Writers know that good writing is like good sex; technique matters but emotion, connection and attention to detail are what make it unforgettable.

11) Writers know how to reach multiple… formats, and tell a story in print, broadcast, online or on screen.

12) Writers know how to say more with less. Just do it. Think differently. Yes, we can.

13) Writers know how to add wit, charm and personality to a story – from a stellar business profile that will increase your sales to an alluring personal ad that will get you a date.

14) Writers know how to reveal the truth about humanity… who we are, what we love (or hate) and what we care about – deeply.

15) Like Oprah, writers know that well-chosen words and well-told stories have the power to change lives… and sometimes change the world. Writers know that the pen really is mightier than the sword, and they know how to use it. (The pen, that is.)

What do you know for sure – about words, writing or writers?

I’d love to hear from you.

Author's Bio: 

I’m a girl from the Canadian prairies who likes wide-open spaces, fresh ideas, a great story, and inspiring environments, buildings and art of all kinds. I have written feature stories about architecture, urban, rural and lakeside living, cool neighbourhoods, and everything from business to pleasure (tourism and travel).

I believe that powerful writing, too, can link the artistic with the practical.

My feature writing has appeared in: Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, The Western Producer, The Cottager, Manitoba Business Magazine, Manitoba’s Northern Experience, Home & City, Manitoba Gardener, Ciao and up! (WestJet’s magazine).

Barbara Edie