Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Snow advice

I opened the door a moment ago to survey the weather and I could hear the whisper of falling snow. Our deck is covered now in what looks to be about an inch of the white stuff. The chairs look like they're wearing sheepskin coats.
Driving tomorrow morning could be treacherous. The Irondale Chamber of Commerce asked me to speak tomorrow but I got an email late this evening saying the meeting had been cancelled and to be honest, I'm glad. It should be a short-lived dusting because the temps will reach the 40's by mid-day.  
 I've had my nose to the grindstone the last few days.....well, to lose the metaphor, I've been tapping keys the last few days.
I've written two full length feature stories, two bio's for upcoming speaking engagements, and my column for next Sunday's paper. I sometimes get lost in words.  
I read a book a while back where the author suggested that writers should strive to use the "right words" when they write.
That sounds simple enough, but in reality it's sometimes not that easy. I started a recent article with a funny story that was probably not true. The story stressed a point, but readers needed to understand that it was "a story". 
I toiled with the opening sentence trying to figure out how to tell the story, but let readers know that it wasn't a true story. My friend Dale helped me out when he suggested apocryphal which means "of doubtful authenticity. I could have written all day and never captured what I wanted to say without this word.
Some of the best books, blogs, and stories I've read make a habit of using the right words. 
My vocabulary is not where I want it to be, so when I'm reading and run across a word I don't know, I look it up. It takes a little longer to finish my reading, but it's worth it.
At first it seemed like I was constantly stopping,  but I don't have to stop as much anymore.
Unless you're among "the gifted", getting really good at something takes study and practice. There are no shortcuts. 
OK, I'm through spewing advice now so you can all return to your normal blog-surfing activities. 
I just put on a kettle on the stove for evening tea, so Jilda and I will unwind the great-room, sip our tea and watch the snow turn the ground into a cotton blanket.


  1. I love learning new words!

    We're supposed to get a couple inches....we'll see. Sounds like you've got a lot going on, good luck.

  2. Enjoy your snowfall. I'm definitely not gifted in much except causing a little trouble here and there.

  3. Hi. Love your header pic. My hubs is a train dispatcher and loves pics of old depots!

  4. hey...We're supposed to get a couple inches....we'll see. Sounds like you've got a lot going on, good luck.

  5. Words are my training, my job and my passion - well done on searching out the meanings of the ones you don't know

  6. We also got a light dusting of snow here in Charlotte,N.C. where I am visiting.

    I spent some time choosing the right words to describe some traveling salesmen I overheard in the breakfast room today.

    That was fun! Enjoy your snow day. Marsha

  7. you have the right idea
    stay warm

  8. this was a helpful post. ! I think it's awesome you could write two whole stories in just a few days. I'm not a fast writer, especially when wanting the to use "right words"

  9. that is why I love the free dictionary dot com. When I am writing, I often think of a word I have seen before, gathering from the context in which it was written that it might apply to my post but not knowing for sure if it really means what I think it means.

    Sometimes I go there to find synonyms as well, and I enjoy their word of the day feature that helps me expand my vocabulary. For instance, today the word was off-license which is another word for liquor store. They choose some words that are out of the ordinary, and I am pretty sure I would rarely have opportunity to write that, but I certainly never would have guessed the meaning, even when given in their sample sentence!

    I really do love using and reading the right word. It is satisfying on so many levels!


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