An Update on My Blog & the Meaning of Its Existence

IMG_20160607_102046As it’s been awhile since I started this blog (it has died and been resurrected more than once), I’ve decided to spend some time not only updating my blog, but also explaining its purpose and what I hope to accomplish. I originally started this blog for a project in a class I was taking for my masters in library science. Since I was still homeschooling at the time, I thought of sharing thoughts and events on homeschooling that might prove interesting and helpful to other homeschoolers, as well others interested in education in any way. Reading and writing are my two main spheres of interest, so I knew my posts would be in those areas; as well as on library events and library news.

So, I’m not homeschooling any longer and that perfect library job has still not happened. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but in the meantime, I have become more serious about writing–my first love and what I’ve declared I would do since probably about third grade. When I was in college, it was suggested I go into teaching, but, no, I wanted to write. Well, I’ve spent quite a few years teaching–from preschool to ladies’ Bible studies–and I’ve loved it, but I still want to write.

I’ve actually written two books, so the one I’m working on is my third. The first book was read by my mother and several long-suffering friends. For some reason, I could never find an interested publisher, and, really, I didn’t know what I was doing in that area, which may have actually been a blessing in disguise. (I still don’t know a lot–but learning!) What happened to the second? I’m not even sure.

In the meantime, I want to continue to share about books I’ve read and enjoyed. Since the book I’m working on is historical fiction and that is my favorite genre, I am going to focus on books in that area but there will definitely be others–from books on writing to fantasy to Bible studies.

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Eventually, (and, hopefully, very soon), I will also be writing and sharing about the progress of my book. I’m excited at where it’s going and how much I have completed. I would like to share the first chapter on here at some point, but that will depend on how certain things go. I’m using a good part of that chapter to enter a couple of contests, so can’t release or share anything about it while it is out there being reviewed and scrutinized by “those in the business.”

I was going to also explain more about the title–declaretonextgeneration–but I believe I’ll save that for another blog post.

Word Crutches and Other “Various” Words

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Reading through the first draft of my work in progress, a very kind friend noticed a few words that were a bit overused. One of them was the word “various”. I had “various” birds, “various” foods, “various” colors, “various” fish, and even “various” mothers. She even suggested (gently) that this word might be a crutch for me.

That kind of hurt, but in rereading another chapter, I found another overused word–“curious”. Curiously, I seemed to have had a hard time spelling that word, so, really, you would think I would have been looking for synonyms even before I realized I had used that same word four times in a single page.

Doing another read through some more chapters, I decided every time I saw the word “various” that I would circle it with a blue colored pencil. What was it about that word? It’s not even a great word. It’s actually kind of lame. Boring. “Various.” Really? What about diverse? Manifold? Miscellaneous? Sundry?(Now, there’s a good word). However, it’s become a bit of a game to me to see how many times and in how many various places I have been able to work that same word into a phrase. I mean, you would think I had entered a contest where the prize went to the writer who could find the most ways to use a certain word in many different (and various) ways.

On the other hand, there are other words I’m reluctant to use because it might seem like showing off. For example, this morning I used the word “quirk” twice in my current writing. You know, “he quirked a smile” or perhaps an eyebrow. Great word–quirk. Much more interesting than “various”. But, I don’t know. Does that fall under the rule of not using a “fancy” word when a more familiar one will do? Of course, if I use it enough times, won’t that make it more familiar? Or maybe it’s not really fancy at all. Just because I don’t use it in everyday conversation doesn’t mean it’s not commonplace in another place and time.

Another interesting fact about words is that they can run in cycles. Remember when everything was “awesome”? I like that word, but hesitate to use it after hearing that so many people had “awesome days”, own “awesome dogs”, make an “awesome grilled cheese”, or saw an “awesome sunset.” Still, I don’t want to throw it out the window just because of its overuse because it is, after all, an awesome word. But, I will proceed with some caution when I want to describe anything as “awesome”. For now, when I want to describe a new book, a new song, or anything else that touches my soul, I will probably call it “impressive”, “astonishing”, “breathtaking”, or downright “splendid”. ¬†Any of those various words should do.

How about you? Any words you tend to use as crutches? Or are there some words that you would like to use but feel they have overplayed their hand?