Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Banned Words

One day while writing "morning pages" in my notebook, I started to notice certain words I used over and over again. Words like maybe, should, might, probably, need to. I made a list in the margin and marked it "banned words" These words appear most often in passages where I'm haggling over a to-do list, trying to motivate myself to accomplish something.

What I need to realize is that there is accomplishment just in the writing. In getting past all those things that tangle up my brain and try to force me out of the chair, try to force the pen out of my hand I am moving myself to a place of really writing. Describing people, scenes, memories. Committing to paper the stories that have been floating in my mind. That is accomplishment.

It doesn't matter if anyone reads it. It only matters that I've put it on paper. It doesn't matter if I write dozens of maybe's and shoulds. If those are bridges to the next line, the next thought, then they have served their purpose.

Still, those words nag at me because they are my own lack of commitment pouring out on the page. Instead of will, doing and work I write probably. Fear of committing to see the work through. I should address that fear.


J Cosmo Newbery said...

Yes, don't worry about the words, get the ideas down. In some of my poems I write down what I want to say and then worry about the words and metre during a later visit.

BTW: One type of word that should be obliterated from your work is word verification. It is a speed hump on the commenting highway. *sniff*

Tiffany said...

Okay J, I've smoothed out the commenting highway for ya!

Jen said...

Hey Tiffany,

Thanks for stopping by my blog and the sweet comment! I work with 4th graders and they are being tested on writing next week! (Standardized test) Anyways In order to improve their writing we brainstorm lists of words that can be used for words like said and good. We then have a RIP ceremony for these words!! The kids love it and now they know they can no longer use those words in their writing!!

Tiffany said...

Jen, I do the same kinds of things in teaching my kids. Their banned words include big, small, eat/ate, etc. Just a way to get them to dig deeper and try more interesting words.

Jenners said...

I think it is best to just get the words out in whatever form they need to get out and then worry about editing them later. To quote Yoda "No try. Only do." And you are doing -- so that is great!

Be a writer first and then an editor later in the process.

Keep on going!

And gotta salute J. Cosmo -- stamping out word verification one blog at a time!

Anonymous said...

I agree! Worry about getting your ideas on paper(computer) Then worry about what words you use.

Tiffany said...

Well, it looks like I'm the only one driven crazy by my own words!

Robin said...

I am not a writer but I do catch myself using words that are inadequate simply because I don't feel like doing the work of thinking of something "perfect".

I have high regard for you writer-types.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Oh, I love you. Get someone you trust to give you a hug and debit my account!

Amy said...

Hello Tiffany,

I love your pooh bear. I am a total piglet fan. I just wanted to say Thanks for coming by my page. It was so kind to have you there. Also for saying congrats on my award. Have a wonderful day.

Pink Ink said...

*haggling over a to-do list* That made me smile.

Mine today:
-probably should buy milk
-maybe I will write
-I should really do laundry
Mmm, those words DO make a difference, don't they? ;-)

BUT those morning pages are for your eyes alone, so yeah, I wouldn't worry about censoring yourself too much. Honesty is the key.