Monday, February 6, 2012

The Art of Communicating

"Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, 

is the greatest invention of the world."

Abraham Lincoln

Smart man! Makes you think that he might have been an interesting addition to your writing group, doesn't it? I've often wondered what prompted him to utter these words.

While pondering this quote recently, I thought about other ways that we communicate. One way, of course, is through the spoken word. As we polish our writing, we can improve our speech, whether speaking among friends or with a group. It provides opportunities to be more deliberate and thoughtful, don't you think?

I believe too, that as we speak, we stretch our ability to articulate in new and meaningful ways. Each episode adds to our vast array of experiences, giving us writing ideas and valuable practice to make our words efficiently shine.

Body language is another means of communication. Whether consciously or not, we share our thoughts, moods, triumphs, and struggles with those around us. We can speak volumes through arms folded, fidgety fingers, rolled eyes, and crinkled brows.

Perhaps this is a cross between body language and speech - a sigh, grunt of disapproval, or shrill whine could possibly be a negative tool to control others. A good way to communicate? Probably not. But body language is not without its perks.We can share kindness and acceptance through a wave or a smile. An outstretched arm can draw hurting or precious ones near.

Any thoughts on other ways we communicate? What do you think Mr. Lincoln had in mind when he said this?

Promise Me This Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Theresa N., the winner of Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke. Thanks to all for stopping by and participating!

What things have helped you become a better communicator? Do you see communication as an art or special skill?

Happy writing,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange


  1. I love the idea of inviting Honest Abe or even Benjamin Franklin to a writing group. That would be so cool!

  2. I love this quote!!! I have found that focusing on postitive words in both writing and speech is both challenging and encouraging to me and to those around me. Body language speaks volumes without words.

  3. I think mirroring is an excellent tool and making sure I've understood what someone is trying to communicate.

    ~ Wendy

  4. Laura,
    Oh yes, Ben Franklin would be a good one too! Just imagine...

    Yes and amen! I like what you said about the positive words being challenging and encouraging. Never thought of it like that. :)

    Yes, now that's a good one I hadn't thought of. Thank you!


  5. I struggle with describing body language when I write...but it's about 90% of how we communicate with each other. Oy! ;)

    Nice post!

  6. I think the more I write, the worse I am at communicating with the spoken word. Isn't that crazy?

  7. I believe he was thinking how poor we'd be as a society, as a race, if we could not communicate through the written word.

  8. You're so right, Karen. Body language and how we say something says much more than the words themselves. And I love what you said about Abe Lincoln being in a writers group. Wouldn't that be fantastic?!

  9. Love the quote and I agree with it completely. I don't think I use much body language, though other people might disagree.

    Communicating is very important. I often wish I were better with my verbal skills. I need to think before I speak. That's why I love writing. I can tear it up if I make a mistake.

  10. Love this. A voracious reader, I agree with him wholeheartedly! I think he loved to learn, that's what; hence, his love of the written word.

    I've found that vast amounts of reading and then lots of writing sharpens one's skill set immeasurably. Always having devoured books, it's given me a great vocabulary, which is used constantly in my speech and written work. It is both an art and a special skill.

    Well-thought-out post, Karen!

  11. Alex,
    This is so true! Glad you brought that up!

    I know it, and I struggle with it in the WIP too. We're getting there!

    I don't think so, for I can see how we get so tangled in our writing and specifics projects. Sometimes when I am in a zone all I want to do is write! And order takeout for dinner...:)

    Ah, you know, this is a great point. I suspect you are correct! I like to ponder his many quotes - good stuff!

    Yes, and I know I have to be careful sometimes, particularly when I am really upset. Lincoln at a group meeting - yes, it would be great fun!

    I suppose it might depend on how you view someone's body language. Some might define certain actions as telling, others might not. I agree, writing is a good way to edit before speaking!


  12. Karen:
    Just the thought of speaking to Abe Lincoln sounds great. When I was a child, my mother was good about using a certain tone of voice when she wanted to make a point. Other times, she used my first and middle names as well. These ways always got my attention.

  13. Communication is a two way street, Karen. Both parties must be actively engaged in order for it to be called communication.

    Practice makes perfect is what helped me become a better communicator. Lots of practice, practice, practice.

    Honestly, I think good communication is learned and then honed.

    We can always learn more. Take care. Susan

  14. Karen,

    What a neat quote. I think listening a huge part of communication and writing.

  15. That's a fantastic quote! Body language definitely counts for a lot, but writing for me is the best way to communicate.

  16. Cecelia,
    I know, it does! I remember the tone my parents used when they wanted our attention. And yes, using the middle name too meant I was in trouble!

    You are right. It takes two or more to have a proper conversation. I agree, practice is necessary!

    I think you are right. If we don't listen, how can we really communicate?

    I know, love this quote. :) I'm in for the writing thing - that's my favorite way too!


  17. I see it as both; an art as well as a skill. Great quote.

  18. Hi Karen .. certainly 'most everyone' needs to learn how to communicate - even at the most basic level.

    We need to consider the listener and ensure that we get our message over to their way of thinking ... hold their eye ...

    Body language, expressing ourselves via our voice can enliven things ..

    Speaking slowly and clearly are so important ...

    Excellent post - thanks for highlighting it - the art of communicating does not come naturally to most people .. cheers Hilary

  19. Wow, I never knew he said this--thanks for sharing!

    I try to face the person I'm listening to, and make eye contact. Those are ways to show respect.

    Re: your post on my blog, can I come with you? I'll be your adopted sister!

  20. Rachna,
    I think you are right! So many ways to explore this idea! :)

    Yes, and I think that we all can learn to do so, because we all have something to share. Great points, thanks!

    Good tips - I think they are very important ones. And yes, you may come along on the perfect day. You'd be the perfect adopted sister!


  21. Interesting subject, Karen. I often like to view a scene from a good movie where there's no dialogue, just silence and an almost non-responsive actor. Then I sit down and write the scene to see if I can convey the emotions. Great exercise for gearing me up.

    Course, sometimes it's much harder than I'd like to admit.

  22. Congrats, Theresa N.!

    Practice, practice, practice. :)

  23. Prayer and music are other ways that we communicate.

    Wouldn't it be fun to put together a famous persons writing group? There's your next blog post, Karen :-)

  24. Great Lincoln quote. He probably felt the power of words when he penned the Gettysburg Address. Communication is definitely the key to all social relationships. Poor communications between spouses is one of 2 reasons (the other financial) for divorces. I do believe it is a skill that can with effort be learned.

    A thought-provoking post, Karen.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  25. Joylene,
    Now there's a great idea! I need to give that one a try. :) Thanks a bunch!

    Amen to that. Speaking of which, I need to practice some today. :)

    Very true! And I think your idea is an excellent one - that well may be my next post!

    Yes, I imagine you are right about the Gettysburg Address. As far as marriages, I have to agree - communication - the real kind is a must.

    Thanks and blessings,

  26. Oh, gosh. Abe in my writers' group? How cool would that be? I'm not surprised by his quote. My earliest memory of learning about AL was how he would read for hours and hours by candlelight when he was a boy. It can be no wonder that he valued the written word.

  27. Great quote. I think many communicate by touch!

  28. Lisa,
    I know, it would be cool! You make a good point, he must have value the written word greatly!

    Thank you! Yes, touch is another way, you're right!


  29. Smart man, that Honest Abe.

    Like one of your other followers, I've been making a greater effort to communicate using positive language, whether written or spoken. Makes a world of difference in terms of getting the other person's attention and often disarms defensive folks.

    Silence can be a very effective tool of communication, often signaling things like disinterest or consent. Hmm...good question about ways to communicate, Karen!

    Have a lovely week ahead.

  30. Janette,
    I am with you, I think that's a great goal. You can indeed diffuse situations that way - that's been my experience anyway. There's so much food for thought here, you know? Thanks for weighing in!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!