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Write with Authority

May 17, 2017

By Jeanette Segale

I’m about to enter the world of writing words that others will read.

 As I transition into my new writing career, I’ve spent the past couple months revisiting how to write. I want to share with you the first assignment that struck home for me. It’s from the book authored by Fairfax & Moats in The Way To Write:

“Look up these three words in a good dictionary and consider how their meanings interrelate: author, authority, authentic.“

This is a good assignment in and of itself, and I urge any greenhorn writer like myself to give it a go. However, I realized that this assignment also corresponded to Joni Cole’s talk given recently at the League of Vermont Writers spring program. “Stop apologizing about your writing.” Joni said. “Stop telling us why it isn’t good enough.” 

Because you know what, it is good, and that’s why you’re writing it.

 Joni’s words made me think of past holiday dinners with family. Aunt Gert would place her mile-high lemon meringue pie on the table amid our ooh’s and aah’s,  and say, “Oh, the crust is a bit tough” or my grandmother as she could barely set down the basket of steaming yeast-scented rolls before it was emptied by a horde of grabbing hands, “Oh, they’re a bit dry this time.”

It is because of these moments throughout my childhood that I made a promise to myself to never apologize for the food that I have cooked. And there have been opportunities. But I find if I don’t say anything, no one notices. They just smack their chocolate-covered lips in satisfaction and no one’s the wiser that I forgot to add the vanilla to the cookie filling.

And now I will learn to do the same with my writing.


Jeannette Segale recently transitioned from the business world into the world of writing. When not writing she savors time in the woods, long bike rides, gardening, reading, cooking and good food.

She lives in Huntington with her husband Joe and their Golden Retriever puppy, Nellie.