Monday, 6 June 2016

My Vocabulary Kinda Sucks

When I raised the prices for my freelancing work one of my clients told me they were okay with it because they like my writing style. They said it was simple and easy to read. It was a nice compliment but it got me thinking. There's a reason that my writing is so simple. My vocabulary sucks. Especially for a writer.

Lookit all dem words
I used to have an amazing vocabulary. Then I started doing freelancing work. I started getting a little lazy with my writing and would use the same words over and over again. I began to really just lose that wonderful vocabulary I had before.

I believe another one of my issues is recall. If you asked me what a word meant there's a good chance I could tell you. Or I could at least use it in a sentence. When I'm actually writing though, that kind of thing just doesn't come up. Like, when I'm writing I can only think of the same words. It can get problematic in my rewriting gig when I try to think of different ways to word something.

I'm sure there are numerous ways one can try and improve their vocubarly. Do I have the time for it though? I wish.

11 comments:

  1. Well for your current context a small vocabulary is beneficial, it ensures all readers can keep up without any problems. Keep an eye on retaining that when you start increasing your vocabulary again.
    As for me, as a non-native speaker, I struggle with finding different/better words from time to time. Luckily I can just [keyboard shortcut[ "define word" and it'll pop up with dictionary and thesaurus entries. I always make sure to double-check a related word makes sense in the context though, that's much more important than word variety.

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  2. I tend to limit my vocabulary because I can't spell. You can always use a thesaurus?

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  3. The other day I used the word 'enervating' to describe my feelings on a hot summery day to a blog friend. She immediately asked me 'what does enervating mean?' Simple is best in today's world with Twitter and whatnot.

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  4. "Plain English" is best for commercial writing -- an extensive vocabulary would be a drawback to the average reader.

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  5. The purpose of labguage is to communicate ideas. Larger vocabularies aren't always necesaary nor the most effective means of doing that.

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  6. Never considered it as long as I understand what I'm reading!

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  7. If you read the average Facebook post you'd see how bad the great unwashed are at spelling and grammar. Having said that when you write commercially I'm guessing you have to know your target audience and taylor the style accordingly.

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  8. One of the best professors I ever had in college had a big poster on the wall that said K.I.S.S. (with a pic of the band Kiss in the background). Stood for "keep it simple, stupid." You don't need an insane vocabulary to be a great writer. There are lawyers we make fun of constantly at work because they love throwing ten-dollar words into their letters and filing papers. In the end, those giant words just make them sounds like pompous windbags.

    It's great to have a wide vocabulary, but I think you're a really great writer without any fancy words. Fancy words are like frills and ribbons--they look nice, but they're not necessary, and often you seem more genuine without them.

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  9. Going off of what Mich said, we both laugh when we see writers trying to insert unnecessarily large words into their writing when they could have used something half the size to say the same thing twice as well. It's good to mix up your words, sure, but you also don't want your readers to have to keep breaking away to consult a dictionary. Also, it makes you look like a pretentious douche.

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  10. Mark I swear that this isn't a bad thing, especially in keeping with your current line of work. If anything adding in a more varied vocabulary could end up being to your loss rather than your benefit. I don't know really but just be careful about trying to improve it too much. I know that I like my reading simple.

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  11. I'm with you! Reading they say improves the vocabulary. So I try to keep reading.

    Hey, I also found a word game just recently which also doubles as a charity. You get to donate grains of rice for each correct answer. Freerice.com. :)

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