The Aging Writer

t_hardy (2)
I’ve noticed a few subtle changes in my writing process.

Those eloquent ‘perfect’ words that once rolled off the creative conveyor belt, unfettered, no longer do. I often find myself pausing, my fingers hovering over the keyboard, my progress halted.


Because of a word.

A word I knew, but can’t recall. A word that chose to dissipate, vanish from memory, abandon the author in time of need. Not that the specimen was unique; a literary gem or a sesquipedalian expression worthy of a Doctoral Thesis—rather a vivid noun or concise adjective, one perfectly suited to complete my thought. Yet despite effort, the word eludes recollection, lost in a sea of ill-used modifiers and vague simplicities; a cluttered mind deluged with bland generalities.
sesquipidalian (4)

The result is predictable. Creativity stalls, frustration festers, and the online thesaurus makes an ugly appearance; like a shady drug-dealer plying her trade.

Ah, aging.

And then there’s my other notable idiosyncrasy—although not specific to aging, involving my inexplicable draw to a particular word; one I inadvertently adopt and overuse, sprinkling liberally throughout my work. Writers have certain go-to words, we all do, and editing programs exist for this reason. Shorter works are immune, the problem self-evident, however in longer fiction, the issue lies dormant, like a camouflaged fugitive hiding out under the auspices of neglectful editing.

I recently discovered my addiction and promptly dealt with it.

The word ‘vanquish’—and all of its derivatives, now moved to the restricted list, with no chance of parole.

And third—adverbs.

What’s with all the adverbs lately?

Until next time,

29 thoughts on “The Aging Writer

  1. Yup I loose words all the time, even in simple conversations. When writing I’ll stick in a ? or HUH or BLAH … and highlight it yellow. This way I can keep moving forward and worry about finding that forgotten word later. Which usually is at 3 am.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can sure relate to this, especially since I am making my first attempt at a novel. I’ve only written shorter works before and this is so different! I am in my late 50s and there is are pros and cons of being an older writer. The pros are more living, more experience and how to deal with certain situations. The cons are as you stated above and physical ailments and disabilities. Yet, no matter what the age, if you are a writer, you will write. You find a way.

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  3. I so understand this unquestionably. Apart from my complete resistance to aging in general, the words eluding me is a norm. It is utterly frustrating… but, I absolutely love my adverbs. I can’t possibly exist without excessive use of them. I’ve given up on screening what I write as I write. I consciously tell myself to keep going and just use the word that comes to mind. I know I can do the edit later.

    Sesquipedalian however will not be part of my vocab. I wouldn’t want my readers to keep googling the words as I would do when encountering words that are totally strange to me. I’d eventually give up reading, or read my dictionary instead so I can prepare for the book. Ha-ha!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we all have the good and bad days when it comes to writing. I’m getting used to leaving something and coming back to it the next day, I never could before. Yes, I stumbled across sesquipedalian writing this post and couldn’t resist. Cheers Anne!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “online thesaurus makes an ugly appearance; like a shady drug-dealer plying her trade.”

    LLOL (literally lol) this is so funny and yes I’ve had that feeling but truthfully I love online dictionaries.

    Wait, what editing programs?

    I’m starting to get intrigued by this writing thing. Is that part of TAP (the aging process)?
    Yes I also love acronyms and yes I have to look them up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Debbie! I jest a lot, but aging does factor into the process, at least for me. As for editing programs, there are many free ones available, I opted to purchase ProWriting Aid at discounted rate (about $40 for 2 years). Grammarly is another popular one, although it costs a bit more. Best of luck on your endeavours, let me know if you have a website. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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