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Don’t wear it out…

What is your favorite word? Most people, especially writers, have a few favorites. They aren’t usually sexy or inspiring, just the words we tend to use regularly in our speech patterns.

The thing is, speech is ephemeral. Writing tends to last, possibly forever, and the words we saw in the previous paragraph are still visible to us as we dive into the next one.

So, if you have a certain pattern of speech, like starting sentences with ‘so’, what is barely noticeable in a conversation begins to really stand out in writing.

The thing is (there it is again), many of the verbal connectors we use for emphasis while speaking just don’t function the same way in writing. They clutter up your text and distract from your point. In blogging and online we’re walking a fine line between wanting to sound conversational and recognizing the limiting factors of writing versus speech. If you’re writing stories, articles, or especially books, it becomes even more important to pay attention to the details and not fall into verbal bad habits.

I encourage you to take a look at the last few things you wrote and see if you can identify your personal pattern. If you can’t find it, invite a friend to look at your writing and offer comments. It isn’t exactly a problem, but if you write often it can become a little wearing on your audience.

I have a friend who is a most excellent writer. I read everything she writes and enjoy it immensely. Her characters are complex and well designed, her plots are detailed and interesting. But, her favorite words during one set of stories are ‘peculiar’ and ‘unique’ and at some points I lose the thread of the story trying to substitute alternate descriptive words. Distracting.



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