Thursday, November 13, 2008

Repeating myself

Now that I am writing A LOT more, both time-wise and quantity-wise, than I have in recent years, I've been a little disturbed to notice that there are a few words and phrases that pop up at an alarming rate in nearly everything I write. Some examples:


1 a: to examine or consider with attention and in detail : study b: to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner 2: read ; especially : to read over in an attentive or leisurely manner (from"

Peruse: turns out, I love this word. I know this now, because all of a sudden, I'm using it all the time. "I was just perusing your blog . . . as I was perusing information on the history of the neighborhood . . . I perused the bookshelves, looking for good resources for the freelance writer . . ." The fact is, my new freelancing job pretty much centers around perusing various things (well, actually, "writing" is the primary verb of my freelancing career. But "perusing" is a close second).

Another one I feel I've been overusing is "pursue" (cleverly, phonetically similar to peruse- coincidence?). This one, however, I attribute to the fact that I've filled out what feels like a million little 'bios' on various sites, and on each I've said some variation of "I've recently quit my full time job in property management to pursue freelance writing . . ."

The one that's been really bugging me, though, is what I feel is an overuse of what I'll call "reversal words." I KNOW there is a better, more educated sounding terms for these words and phrases- one that is escaping me right now, to my English-Major-embarrassment. I'm talking about "however," "although," "but," "though," "still,"and the like. I find it hard to get through an article or post without using a minimum of one of these words- and it's kind of driving me crazy! I know there are some literary types out there that frown on the use of these words. I'd love it it those folks could give me a little lesson on how to avoid them altogether.

I guess when you go from a casual amount of writing daily, to doing it prolifically, you're going to feel a bit repetitive simply because your volume has increased exponentially. Still, (there I go again!) I've been trying to look for alternate ways to 'reverse' the flow of a paragraph or article. It will make me feel better about my writing.

For all you writer types out there reading this (if there are any!), I'm curious: do you have any words you find yourself using over and over again? Are there writing tropes that you just can't get away from?

{Originally published on November 8th, 2008 on my Wordpress blog}

No comments: