I have noticed a hundred times, and do not doubt that many of my readers must have noticed a hundred-and-one or a hundred-and-two times, that books with an arresting, imaginative title are seldom worth much. It is to be presumed that they were invented before the book itself, frequently perhaps by someone else.
― Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, The Waste Books
A snappy title does not a book make, it’s true. But for us lesser scribblers, the title might be the snowball we need to get the creative process rolling. It’s a writing prompt I’ve used many times: I come across an interesting phrase (often a song lyric—I never claimed to be a highbrow), and think, “If I had a post titled Such-and-Such, what would it be about?” Then I sit down and reverse-engineer it into existence. I’m not ashamed to say that there are many posts in the archives here whose best part is the title. The fact that many writers and authors don’t get to choose the titles of their articles or books is one of the many reasons why I could never write anywhere else. If I can’t amuse myself with obscure references or inside jokes, well, what’s the point in writing at all?