Long before I started writing, I fell in love. With words. And in my case, with the English language. I read any and all English-language books I could get my hands on – and let me tell you, in the Germany of the late 1980s, this wasn’t always easy.
Coming home from vacations in Great Britain, the car was loaded with books that had to sustain me for another year, at least. And every book, every new story was another way of delighting in new ways words could be put together. I believe I have read every one of them multiple times.
Can you feel this love, too? Does reading a well-crafted story make your heart sing?
Then you have writer potential.
Some people call writing “word-smithing”. I like that term, because it makes it so very clear that words are the material we work with. They have to be shaped, molded and sometimes hammered into place to create a story. To me, they have an almost tangible feel, and finding just the right word for what I want to say is bliss.
Can this be learned? I’m not sure.
What I did as a kid who desperately wanted to read English, who was fascinated with “Cowboy horses”, and who really wanted to explore that new realm that a new language truly is – I started training my brain to think in English. I would lie in bed at night and put together English words, creating sentences. Simple ones at first, using the limited vocabulary learned in school. And I wanted more words.
I still remember the first really hard book I read. (“Bear Island”, by Alistair McLean, one of his longer books with high language, much better than the later, serialized ones.) I barely understood the story the first time around. I picked it up again a while later and collected new words from it with glee. In fact, I still own that book, decades later.
So if you want to be a writer, you need to develop that passion for words and for language. You need to have a large vocabulary. (Factoid: English has one of the largest vocabularies of any language.) And you need to learn how to use it. And to … own that love of words.
Here’s a little tapping suggestion if that last point is a little hard for you.
Even though I used to be ashamed of being a bookworm, I am okay the way I am, and I now choose to be a proud lover of words.
Even though nobody understood why I liked books more than playing outside, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now allow myself this love of books and words.
Even though I really am a word geek, and people don’t understand, I’m okay just the way I am, and I now choose to embrace that part of myself and express it in writing.
Now, everyone who loves words has pet peeves. Seriously. So which one is yours? (Mine is “could of”. Argh!) Share in a comment!
Image source: F. Moebius
Want to share more about your love of words or writing? Come on over to my message board for writers: Writers’ Dream Coach Message Board.
You only have to register once, and can read and write on all Runboards that don’t restrict access.