Monday, June 18, 2012

The Case for Creativity in Words

I missed my blog's birthday! On June 16, 2008, the post below was my launch into the blogosphere. Four years ago! So I thought I'd repost it in commemoration.

Writing always came naturally to me because I love words. Finding a combination of words that, when linked together, expresses a thought in its truest form is a zen-like experience.
As writers, we’re told to stay away from “million dollar” words, which basically means anything more than two syllables. Why? Isn’t writing referred to as a craft? Isn’t the challenge of any craft to use the most exquisite means to achieve the final work of art? Why use the language of a fifth-grader when another word will better fit the context, and ultimately, enhance the meaning, of whatever the writer is attempting to convey?
As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
So why not fortify a story with a few well-chosen “million dollar” words that will make readers think? After all, isn’t that the point of any writing? To zap readers’ brains with those bolts of literary lightning?
By expanding our vocabularies, we expand our understanding of the world.
Words of quality get inside you, become part of you. Sometimes they shimmer and zing around and ignite new sparks of thought, new inspiration, begging to be reshaped into a new string of language, fortified with a few lightning bolts of its own.
Which is only right, of course – for anyone who dips from the writerly well of thought must then replenish it to keep the flow eternal, to prevent stagnation.
Language is an art too precious to be lost, a vast playground for the imagination. One way to build your word toybox is by subscribing to A Word A Day. Sign up at

1 comment:

Cate Masters said...

Of course, this was supposed to post on Wednesday, not show up on Monday! *shakes fist at Blogger*