J.K. Rowling

1 05, 2017

Six Ways to Be a Better Wordsmith

By |2017-04-30T14:50:05-05:00May 1st, 2017|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Our ability to “create meaning from words” –– wordsmithing–– is such a wonderful gift. (In case, you’re unfamiliar with the word, it means skilled in using words.)

I agree with J.K. Rowling. Words are magic and that magic is found in how we choose to use words.

When I write, I seek not just any word but the perfect word to convey my meaning. For example, when describing a character’s departure, I could say

He left.

He stormed out.

He ambled away.

He darted away.

He wandered away.

Each sentence suggests a different departure. I select the most appropriate one based upon the contextual meaning I want to convey to my reader.

Too often, such care is not given. If you spent much time on social media, I’m sure you’ve noticed this.There’s definitely not much wordsmithing happening in some of the FB posts on my feed. Evidently, others feel the same way. Many of my FB friends have deserted because of all the negativity.

Unfortunately, being a good wordsmith is a choice. And, we can only control our choices, not the choices others make.

We do need to remember what Yehuda Berg saysPoor or careless word choices can inflict damage both physically and emotionally. Using the wrong words can be construed as bullying, harassment, and/or slander and there are laws against bullying, harassment, and slander.

We need to make our word selections carefully. How? Try these six things.

  • Filter your thoughts before you speak them. Thoughts that might bring negative feelings or trouble—eliminate those. Choose instead to use words that create serenity.
  • Commit to no complaints and no gossip about anything or anyone, including yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
  • If a complaint is unavoidable, find words to express appreciation first, no matter how small that thing may seem. Positive words have the power to change a situation.
  • Communicate with constructive and affirmative words. When your speech contains optimistic phrasing, you’ll discover others are more likely to respond the same way.
  • Make a concerted effort to say thank you more often. Kind words generate happy feelings in you and those to whom you are speaking.
  • Share happy stories and good news often. When you come from a place of gratitude, others will be joyful with you.

Can you add anything else to the list?


20 10, 2014

Who writes better – men or women?

By |2014-10-20T06:00:21-05:00October 20th, 2014|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

It’s an interesting question.

Female writers of the past have used male or ambiguous pennames to disguise their gender. Women like Mary Ann Evans, who used the pen name George Elliot and the Brontë Sisters, who wrote as Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell.

These days, women choose gender-neutral pen names in the hopes of increasing book sales and gaining book reviews. Consider these two NYT best sellers:

~ Joanne “Jo” Rowling chose to use J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter series and wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling as Robert Galbraith.

~Nora Roberts, the remarkably prolific author who writes in two genres, selected the gender-neutral pen name J.D. Robb for her mystery novels.

Should women writers bother with pen names? Not according to a recent poll done by Grammarly.

As the infographic below shows 59% of the 3,000 respondents believe women are superior writers.

The poll questions centered on perceived differences in writing technique and quality based on gender. Answers indicate readers believe:

  1. Male authors “get to the point,” whereas female writers were more likely to focus on “character development.”
  2. women write about people as opposed to things
  3. women use long, wordy sentences while men write short, concise sentences

Check out the full infographic below:


I agree with Grammarly’s poll results. Probably because I’m a female author who writes character-driven love stories.

What about you? Do you believe women are better writers than men?

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