Love of Word

Picture 3

My love of the word multiplied exponentially this week. Hipatitis is a winner of the Washington Post 2009 Neologism Contest and I’ve found a way to incorporate the list into a design project. I’m incredibly excited about it. I’ve found all sorts of inspirational word examples this week…

  • The Washington Post Style Invitational Using off-the-cuff humor and wit, readers compete in weekly contests judged by “The Empress”. Contests range from redefining everyday words to rearranging or adding a letter to a word to create new ones. The words aren’t stuffy, just funny people coming up with funny words.
  • Hyperforeignism Jason Kottke is the reason I even began reading blogs. His posts are short, succint and always interesting. In hyperforeignism he breaks down the words and pronunciation. He also chooses great examples to illustrate his point.

I can’t believe how fast grad school is helping me along. As part of my design process I look at all sorts of design materials for visual inspiration and now I can do that for writing. Now, when I read, thoughts like “Ooo, that was nice word choice” or “The writer really nailed the hook on this one” circle through my head. That’s an huge change for me.

It’s silly, but I never thought of all the blogs and magazines I read as traditional non-fiction. In my head, non-fiction is the section in Borders that is filled with terrible how-to business books. Our textbook for the writing class is Zissner’s, On Writing. It’s fantastic. It reads like a novel because Zissner makes writing approachable, fun and practical. I thought all books on writing were stiff and boring like The Elements of Style. Zissner  has changed my mind.

Writing is not easy for anyone and I didn’t know that. I read great pieces and imagine them spewing out of the author’s head strait onto the page. Now, my expectations are lower. I expect my first draft to suck. And then my second draft to suck less. I feel like writing more since I know it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders.

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