“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” — Catherine D. Bowen, American author, 1897-1973
Finding the right word. Isn’t that what every writer strives for? It’s why we write and rewrite and rewrite again — because we want to say it perfectly. A paragraph can always be tweaked, a sentence can always be strengthened, a word can always be more vivid.
I’ll admit, finding those right words is sometimes my biggest struggle as a writer. I admire those who whiz through getting what they call “the bones” of a story down just to have all the ideas on paper, and then go back to flesh it all out. I’m in awe of those who can knock out the first draft of a novel in 30 days or less.
It’s hard for me. Maybe that’s because I still have so much to learn. Maybe that’s because I have a semi-perfectionist streak lurking just beneath the surface. Maybe that’s because I’m an editor in my “real world” job and just can make that side of my brain hush for more than a few minutes at a time.
But when I can … it’s a beautiful thing. 🙂 Words can hurt or heal, bind up or free, take readers to heights or depths they’ve never imagined. A perfectly placed word can make all the difference in how someone understands or responds to our work and its message. A perfectly placed word clarifies the picture our reader already has in his mind. A perfectly placed word fits in so seamlessly that the reader can’t imagine another word in its place. Neither can the writer.
Can I say it again? Having the right word — and knowing it’s the right word in exactly the right spot — is a beautiful thing. For the writer, the reader, and even for God when we’re writing to honor Him.