Wednesday, 5 February 2014

IWSG #3 ~ Vocab intimidation

It's IWSG time again. For anyone who doesn't know, here's what it's all about:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. The hop, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, is this month co-hosted by Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres and Mike Swift.

This month I'm going to talk about vocab intimidation.

Generally, I think my vocab skills aren't too shabby. This love of words and playing around with them has got to be genetic (thanks Mum!). But while I read widely, and write a crapload as well, I wouldn't say I tend to learn a huge number of new words. I love words, and I love finding out what some of the wackier-looking ones mean, but I seem to stumble across new words by accident rather than actively seeking them out.

Sometimes when I'm reading an awesome book, blog post, or heck, even a Facebook status, I can experience a flicker (or a flashfire, occasionally) of self-doubt. I read those words and think to myself, Dude, why didn't I think of that? or Ummm, what does that word even mean!?

In particular when reading an awesome book where the language sparkles, where images and scenes stand out in vivid colour in my mind, I might start to feel a little bit small (I'm reading Earthsea right now, and definitely have had some of these "small feeling" moments!).

I guess you could say I wish I knew every single word in the world. Naturally that's an unrealistic goal, but I'd like to at least try to learn one new word a day. The problem will be remembering to do so. ;)


  1. For me, it's not necessarily about individual words but about the way the writer expressed a thought. I'll often find myself admiring someone's humorous way of putting something...and wishing I had that particular voice. But I guess we have to be thankful for the voice we have! We never really see ourselves as we should.

  2. I know exactly what you mean!! Sheesh, I feel like such a goof when I still have to look words up. But I guess that's how we learn :)

  3. Isn't that the way? Sometimes I am just blown away by a writer's ability to weave words into magic. I tend to fall back on the same tired words I always use and then use a Thesaurus to rectify my deficiencies (just did it there...HA!).
    Leanne Ross ( & @LeanneRossRF )

  4. I have experienced the same thing! In school, vocabulary was a pain, but through reading I learned a lot more words. As a writer, I feel I have a pretty decent vocabulary, but when I'm reading books by certain authors who use words I don't know, I feel my writing existence shrink. Eek! haha

  5. There is a whole dictionary full, so a new word a day could last a really long time.

  6. This is why I have bookmarked. ^_^ I get really neurotic about making sure I use words correctly, so if I have a single doubt, I open that page and check. comment on my right/wrong ratio...

  7. That's a noble goal. Knowing every word in the world. I'd guess if you did you've be paralyzed by indecision, I mean, if you know 133 different ways to say 'run' then you'd spend tons of time figuring out which one to use...and then wonder if more than a handful of people would know the obscure choice you went with.

  8. I hear you! I used to think I had an extensive vocabulary, until I started running across people who wrote the funniest, most clever posts with plays on words I'd never heard before. Sooo intimidating, lol!

  9. i got the same feeling when i read the Night Circus - her words flowed together describing magical scenes, weaving beautiful images. i have to work very hard to express my visions and feel clumsy choosing words sometimes... but it's worth it!

    happy friday!


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!