Pick a Decent Title, and Move On

Titles are a variation on names. And names, as we all know, can set destiny.

Whether you’re naming a book, story, essay, blog, or post, you’ll find a good title. You just have to prime the pump, let the backwater gush, and wait for the clear, clean answer to emerge.

Here’s how it went, for example, in the naming of this blog.

“Denise” was taken and “Shekerjian” is too difficult to remember or spell. Besides, I’m not the point here.  So, I began by making a list of attributes that I thought described my concept. How does good writing happen? That was the main question I wanted to explore. I wanted something personal — not too stiff, cute or trendy. I wanted it to be inclusive of all kinds of writing.

After weeks of generating lists of possibilities, I finally hit on soulofaword. Then, I tested it. I looked for the light in someone’s eyes when I mentioned it. I mentioned it in the start of a conversation to see if that person remembered it by the end.

Today, 119 posts later, I still think it fits. It delivers what I want from a name:  

1. it’s memorable

2. speaks to content

3. fits the voice

4. makes a genuine promise–that is, it is suggestive of what I deliver, which makes it honest

5. has an inviting feel – a this-is-a-safe-place-to-speak-your-mind feel.

Your title should accomplish much the same, and one more thing, as well.

6. It should pop up in a search by your likely readers or no one will find the material.

Sometimes, this is sad. Sometimes, you have to square your shoulders and kill off a very good title—a perfect title, even—in favor of being found.

And once you find it, move on. You’ve got writing to do.

Comments welcome and edited to include first names only, and website, if provided; never your email. Photo credits: Trevor Coultart.

This entry was published on September 16, 2011 at 2:10 am. It’s filed under How To, Mechanics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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