Making new words my own

English: So many words to keep track of!.

English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a writer, words are my stock in trade.  So why do I continue using the same ones over and over again?  Yes, the writing style that I often employ is more folksy, the dialogue most often contains local dialect and idioms.  But does that then preclude my use of words I wouldn’t ordinarily use?  Well…it shouldn’t.  But, in rereading the novel I’ve been writing in Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve come to the realization that I have a tendency to overuse some words.  And I think that can cause readers to become bored with any book that they’re reading.

I don’t enjoy reading books in which the author appears to be throwing less common, multi-syllabic words out there as a demonstration of his or her intelligence, but I also don’t like reading the same few words and phrases over and over.  I think that ends up diminishing the work as well.  There are how many words in the English language?  Seriously, how many?  I don’t know…maybe that’s something to research for another blog.  Anyhow, with all of those words to choose from, I believe I should be able to come up with any number of words and combinations of words to better convey the scenes in my novel, to better describe my characters (and their foibles), to transform my novel from a flat, two-dimensional state to a colorful, fully formed work of art that manages to hold tight to the reader until the last page (and perhaps beyond?).

Is that too much to ask of myself?  Mmm…I don’t believe it is.  I view this as one more way to grow as a writer, discovering new words and making them my own.  So…it’s time to go upstairs and dig that dictionary out from the middle of that stack of books, to dust off that thesaurus, and put them both to good use.  It worked when I was a kid in school, why not now?

Going back to school

Writing

Image by J. Paxon Reyes via Flickr

I have to admit, there are times when I think about going back to school.  Totally changing careers.  But honestly, with the exception of writing, I can’t think of anything I really, truly feel passionate about as far as a career goes.  Of course I have interests, don’t we all?  But one thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that I tend to get bored and move on to the next great thing.  I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.  A blessing in that I get to experience a lot of different, fun things in life.  A curse in that I have yet to find that one thing  to do in life that makes me wake up with a smile on my face because I just can’t wait to get the day started.

Seriously, isn’t that how some people feel about their jobs?  Maybe not most people, but some?  I like my job well enough, but it’s not what I envisioned for myself years ago…well, I don’t really know that I envisioned anything all those years ago except being a singer in a rock band…kind of funny if you could hear me sing!

So, what?  Did I have unrealistic dreams?  Mmm…yeah, those dreams about being a singer…pretty unrealistic.  Maybe one of the reasons I like writing so much is that I can make my life be whatever I can imagine…heck, I can even be someone else when I’m writing…someone from a hundred years ago, or someone living a thousand years from now.  I can be a queen or a serving girl.  I can be wealthy or abjectly poor.  I can be Hitler or Mother Theresa…in my writing, I can be whoever I choose to be and do whatever I want to do.  If I don’t like how life is working out in my writing, I can just edit things, change them to make me happy.  Now, if only I could figure out how to make my life work like that…ah well, in the meantime, I’ll just keep writing, imagining, dreaming, and doing a lot of editing.

Daily writing

750 Words

Image by chsh via Flickr

I’m finally in the groove of writing daily.  In addition to blogging at least once a day, I’ve been utilizing 750words.com to do kind of a stream of consciousness thing.  Sometimes I come up with some decent blog topics while doing my 750 words.  At other times, I’m able to figure out what I really want or need to do about certain situations.  I’m on a 37 day writing streak right now, which is pretty cool.  I’m not sure if my writing is actually improving, but at least I’ve developed the habit of writing daily…that can’t hurt.

I have had to cut back in other areas of my life in order to have the time to write daily though.  I knew something had to give when I started devoting so much time to writing and exercising.  And that something was some of the online social aspects of my life. I only check Facebook first thing in the morning and then again in the evening, so I’m not staying in touch with friends as much as I was.  I still respond to direct comments, but have had to curtail the comments on the activities of others.  That was the trade-off I chose to make in order to have the time to do the things that were important to me.   So, if you’ve noticed I don’t seem to be around as much as I was, just know it’s not you.  It’s me and the choices I’ve had to make in  order to accomplish all that I want in my life.

I always wanted to be a writer, always started stories, very rarely finished them.  Now I can see how the discipline I’m developing can help me work toward my goals of writing for publication.  Writing regularly will enable me to get the pages done that will eventually add up to an entire book (or two or three…).  It feels so liberating to be doing what needs to be done to  follow my dreams!