The “Right” Words

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain

Writing is such an interesting craft, and most writers are  curious “cats”. It’s the only profession I’m aware of where writers TRULY want others writers to succeed. Unlike the corporate world, writers don’t worry about someone taking their job, stepping over them like they were dead on the floor. They applaud each other when success is achieved. They coach and teach each other with ideas when one another gets stuck. Even a successful author Steven King reached out in his book, “About Writing,” which I’ve read more than once.Maybe that’s why I love being a writer.

Writing is not a profession for people who can’t stand to be alone. In so many ways, it must be a solitary activity. We sit for hours searching for the right words as we let our thoughts and imaginations fill the pages.

If you’re lucky like me, you might have a loyal canine who sits silently beside you everyday, breaking the solitude with a snort or a sigh, letting you know when it’s time to take a break after hours of work. Many of us write in coffee shops where humanity creates white noise and stays there but remains distant. We all need the quiet so we can hear our characters speak, get our thoughts in order, using the “right” words that sometimes come on the first try, but more often show up on the fifth or sixth draft.

We search for “the truth” and write it down. In our souls, we want to be published so our words will carry on after we’re gone. It’s important to us that we be heard because most of us have the hearts of teachers. Perhaps we don’t stand in front of a group of students everyday and try to impart our knowledge, but we are teachers nonetheless. Through words we make people think or remember. Through words we entertain and inform. Through brave words we challenge established traditions that may not be just.  And like Mark Twain, we chose our words with care so there is no mistake of being misunderstood.

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