What's in a Word? - Wendy H. Jones

 



As you read this it is pancake day or Shrove Tuesday which means it's almost Lent (yes I know this is a writing blog, bear with me). Every year I give up sugar, however, for the past few years I have also done a writing challenge. Before you get to be overwhelmed by my dedication to the craft of writing I should point out I failed miserably every year. What was the challenge? It was a 40 day writing prompt and you are supposed to write a piece of prose, short story, flash fiction, a blog post or even a poem every day. I think this was where I fell down - the thought of all those different pieces of writing froze my brain. 

Those of you who know me well know that I would never in all my days call myself a poet. Yes, I write rhyming picture books but those appeal to the average 3-7 year old. Not really what I'd call poetry. I was thinking of giving you an example of my poetry but decided you were already suffering enough during a worldwide pandemic. Why would I make your eyes and brain bleed by foisting anything else on you. Then there's short stories. Much as I like writing these, doing one a day for forty days seems less a labour of love and more forced labour. My brain was saying, "Are you having a laugh. You're on your own, I'm off for a cup of tea and a lie down." Not short stories then. Flash fiction and blogs seemed a little more manageable but still not filling me with bonhomie and good cheer. 

You'd think by now I'd give up on this challenge. Why do something which fills me with a feeling of nervousness each day and where there's a jolly good chance I might fail? The answer lies in my genes. Not only am I Scottish, I'm a wee lassie from Dundee. This means I'm as feisty as all get out and I never back off from a challenge. The challenge also inspired and encourages me to be a better writer. To think about my writing. I've been mulling over how I can do this in a way that suits me. One where I am excited about starting the challenge each day and approach it with a feeling of joy (cue meadows and happy music). Then it came to me, I love words. They are magical things which transport me to another world, a world where my characters do what I want them to (on the whole) and where readers can spend time. 

Here's the clincher. This challenge gives me forty beautiful, inspirational words. One word each day which I can use as an idea for my current novel. They will help shape the narrative and might change my WIP in ways I could never previously imagine. I can slip them in and no one but me will ever know where they came from or why they are there. Words have power and I can use that power to my advantage. I am once more excited about the challenge and can't wait to get started. Who knows, one of the words may be one which kicks off a whole new book. 

Of course, that can't happen until I've had my pancakes which is were we started this blog.


I wanted to leave you with the words in the image. As I say words have power. They have the power to tear down, but equally have the power to lift you up. I wanted to lift you up and encourage you today. I may not be doing this challenge quite the way it was intended but I am uniquely me. It's a fantastic challenge and I am grateful to those who run it every year. They are inspiring and encouraging and I want to thank them for the time they spend bringing it together. If you would like to join in you can join the Facebook group which is Creative Lent Challenge. Then, you can use those words in a way which best helps you.

I want to leave you with a challenge, to write every day for the next forty days. If you are joining me, let me know in the comments. I also challenge you to leave me a word in the comments and I promise to use that in my writing. Although I may best setting myself up in this one. Clean words only please. I need something to take my mind off the fact I won't have any chocolate until Easter Sunday. 

All the very best with your writing, not only for the next forty days, but in the future. I'm rooting for you.

About the Author 

Wendy H. Jones is an award-winning, international best-selling author who writes adult crime books, young adult mysteries, children's picture books and non-fiction books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach, runs the Writing Matters Online School and is the CEO of Authorpreneur Accelerator Academy, The president of the Scottish Association of Writers and hosts The Writing and Marketing Show podcast. 

Comments

Ruth Leigh said…
Wendy, you feisty wee lassie! Just what a tired old girl needed to read at 5.43 on a dark February morning! I'm in. Thank you for the encouragement. Here's the word - meretricious. Have a great day!
Wendy H. Jones said…
I like that word, Ruth. I’m going to include it fir definite. Good luck with the challenge. We can do this.
Thank you! What a brilliant idea! My word is Delicious.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Nice one, Maressa. I shall make sure to use it.
Allison Symes said…
My word for today = walking
Wendy H. Jones said…
I shall be sure to use it. Thank you
Kirsten Bett said…
I want to write every day so I am in - my word for you is chocolate bunny, oops two words, or could I hyphenate it...
Wendy H. Jones said…
I'll allow the two words. Now there's a challenge to get it in.
Eden Baylee said…
Hi Wendy, thanks for your blog.
My word is: snow.

eden
What an interesting challenge! - my word is yesterday.
Reb MacRath said…
Live the challenge, Wendy. I can't imagine not having my 3-4 squares of dark chocolate as I start writing each day. But I salute your wee lassie and leave you with a word I've invented for Seattle: *snain*. That's our winter word combining snow, which we almost never see, with rain--which see all too much of. Have a lovely snainy day!
Wendy H. Jones said…
These are all great words. Thank you. I shall do my best to use them, especially snain. Describes Scottish weather perfectly.

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