I get a lot of questions from people who follow my Instagram account about the aforementioned hashtag, as I’ve been using it in the captions of almost all my posts in recent months. So what the hell does it mean and where did it originate from? Quite simply, #saytwowords is a creative constraint: I get two words—and only two words—to describe the scene in the photo or get my point across. Limiting myself to a two-word caption forces me to really think about what it is I want to write. The idea, as far as I know, is the brainchild of my close friend and training partner Chris Denucci, who shared it with me on a run one morning. As a writer and editor who thrives on word counts and deadlines, I was naturally drawn to the idea of #saytwowords and have since made it a regular practice when I post. I encourage you to give #saytwowords a shot next time you post a photo to Instagram—it can be fun, challenging and frustrating all at the same time!
+ Further/related reading: This post written by 37 Signals/Basecamp co-founder and CEO Jason Fried describing the class he’d like to teach—a writing course, of course—is a quick read I have saved to Instapaper and revisit every couple months. Whether you’re a writer or not, I recommend checking it out. “I don’t care about the topic,” Fried writes. “I care about the editing….Along the way you’d trade detail for brevity. Hopefully adding clarity at each point. This is important because I believe editing is an essential skill that is often overlooked and under appreciated. The future belongs to the best editors.” Now that’s a course I’d like to take.