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.
The result is predictable. Creativity stalls, frustration festers, and the online thesaurus makes an ugly appearance; like a shady drug-dealer plying her trade.
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.
What’s with all the adverbs lately?
Until next time,