Perhaps it’s a literary myth, but it’s a good one. Hemingway was once challenged to write a whole novel in just six words. His novel: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine turned this idea in the “Six-Word” Memoir. Here are a few samples from his website:
Age not a protection against heartbreak.
Love at first sight; optical illusion.
Hi: The start of all friendships.
Stephen Colbert added his six-word memoir: “Well, I thought it was funny.”
Bachelor party. YouTube Video. Wedding cancelled.
Six words invites simplicity and sometimes delivers profundity. One of the warm up exercises I do in an Inotivity seminar is for participants to write a six word solution or description of a situation. Spend just six minutes. Then stop. Move on.
Here are some random ones:
Twice the flavor. Half the fat.
Beauty fades. We renew it daily.
Arby’s: Because fresh never gets old.
Stretch Zone: Strength begins with flexibility.
Parents gave me life. Thank you.
The hardest job you’ll ever love.
Six words is close to the ideal for advertising billboards. The idea is to find the nugget and the words to match. It’s just one more way to get ideas on paper. You don’t have to evaluate it or judge it. Try different ways to express the same thought.
Thanks to Larry Smith. And Hemingway.