Power up your writing using the right words!

Power up your writing using the right words!

November 2, 2021

“You can’t write without living fully…” – Monica Wood

I agree with the quote. Living fully contributes to rich and deep writing. Personal experiences open the mind to possibilities; many are recorded on a writer’s page. Having said that, someone can be the most profound thinker on the planet, the most traveled, or most in touch, yet the author’s inability to translate this sophistication to the writer’s page may leave readers lacking.

Whether one is writing a research paper or report, a sermon or sonnet, a note or novel, words always matter.

The exact word. Le mot juste, in French, is how it is expressed. Mot meaning “word” and juste meaning “exact.” Gustave Flaubert, nineteenth century esteemed author of the novel Madame Bovary said, “all talent for writing consists after all of nothing more than choosing words.”

In my work, I’ve have spent countless minutes considering words. The proper word provides clarity, context, creates cohesion in a passage, and ensures the message is precisely communicated. For me, words are like the layer of creama on top of my espresso, there to provide depth and nuance to an otherwise ordinary composition.

The whole point of this blog is to encourage you to expand your vocabulary to create powerful writing.

Start here:

    1. Read. Writers are readers and vice versa. Read everything, newspaper articles, opinion papers, books in diverse genre’s (even one’s you don’t typically read.) Read classics, or if you don’t have the patience, read a contemporary work by someone that introduces you to new vocabulary. Keep a dictionary nearby, especially if you are reading a period piece.
    2. Invest in a thesaurus. I love the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus; this reference is much more than a regular thesaurus. It’s not cheating either! I rely on the Usage Notes, the Wordfinder and the Language Guide. 
    3. A good dictionary is a must, electronic or otherwise, (sure- you can Google words, I sometimes do), but a good dictionary has a familiarity to it, for me its intimacy that Google doesn’t provide. The good ones are: New Oxford American, Webster’s Third International, the Random House Unabridged, and the American Heritage Dictionary and finally, the Oxford English Dictionary.
    4. Practice. To become good at anything you must practice. Slow down. Think about what it is you are trying to say and spend some time replacing the words. What is the energy level of the work, and do your words convey those feelings? Words that are specific, sharp, concrete nouns, and action verbs increase energy. General words, filler words, adjectives, and adverbs decrease energy. Abstract words and filtering verbs, deplete energy.

We will discuss more about energy later in topics about imaginative/creative writing. Until then, happy writing!

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