Do you play with your words when you write?
Writing nonfiction can become dry, there is the expectation that your words are limited, without excess. Fiction writing is where you can think about how words fit together, how they sound when read, various meanings and ways to describe emotions, actions, etc. Fiction writers get to play with language readers may need a dictionary to find. Nonfiction writers are supposed to make sense, be easily read and come to a point.
I don’t entirely agree with that idea of nonfiction writing.
Beyond wiggling around with facts and swaying opinions, nonfiction writers can play with their words too.
Try a new word.
Look for words you often use and change them for a new word. Find a new synonym for an old word. There are lots of sites to look at, or try the local library.
Take out a word.
Eliminate a connecting word you often use and see if everything works, in spite of it. A good word to try is ‘that’. I watch for it myself. It is over used and doesn’t always need to be used at all. My last sentence has a few extra words. Take a look at it, edit it and then read your new version. Do the extra words make a difference, or are they just extra words?
Play with sound.
Some words have a crisp sound. They can be sharp and clear. Short words work well this way. Where do you put your short words? Move words around in a sentence and then read each version out loud. Change it around until you have a sentence that reads well, when spoken.
Play with sound patterns, like poetry. Turn an ordinary sentence into a haiku. Turn another sentence into a limerick, rewrite it so the pattern works even though the words are not a limerick.
Playing with your words helps avoid burnout because you go back to what you like about writing – the writing itself. Plus, it becomes about and for yourself, not just what will please your readers.
Writers who spend all their time “creating content” run the risk of burnout … and extreme creative boredom.
The bonus prompt: to sharpen your skills and perfect your craft, schedule some time to play with words
Screenwriting, playwriting, fiction, and poetry are all delicious ways to play with language, sound, and meaning…