Friday, April 22, 2016

"S" is for . . .

by Deborah Nielsen

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, of course. If you were thinking “s” stood for a much shorter word, well, get your mind out from between the sheets. This post, fortunately or unfortunately, isn’t a primer on how to write sex scenes. You’ll have to go elsewhere for that, I’m afraid.

Movies like “Mary Poppins”, where this word originated, have added words to our vocabulary that are extraordinarily good and wonderful (the meaning of this made-up word). It’s such a silly word but there’s just something about it that makes you happy when you hear it, or say it [soo-per-kal-uh-fraj-uh-lis-tik-ek-spee-al-i-doh-shuh s]. Go ahead, sound it out if you’re not familiar with it. Let it trip off your tongue. Keep practicing until you can say it without hesitation. You’ll develop a certain lilt. Doesn’t it make you feel better now?

Some other things that make us writers feel better are:

Sleep Mode. This isn’t just for your computer. Sometimes you just hit the wall. The fingers won’t cooperate, your vision is blurry and your mind has turned to mush. When this happens, it’s best to just get up, leave the computer to fend for itself for awhile and go do something. Anything. Take the dog for a walk and breathe some fresh air, do the dishes, maybe even take a nap yourself. Taking a break for awhile will do wonders.

Serendipity – another one of those “happy” words; meaning: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. The word was coined in 1754 by Horace Walpole, the 4th Earl of Oxford, who was an art historian and man of letters. He wrote to a friend that he derived the word from a fairy tale he had read, “The Three Princes of Serendip”. The Earl also had his own printing press, the Strawberry Hill Press, that he used to publish his own writings. Self-publishing before the digital age. Did you think self-publishing was a recent phenomenon? It’s been around for at least 250 years. It just hasn’t always been as convenient. How many times have you stumbled onto something when you weren’t looking? Maybe found a subject to write about in the most unlikely of places?

Serenity. When all is calm and peaceful and you can write without interruption. Sometimes this comes at 11 o’clock at night after the kids are tucked in bed and you finally have time to take a breath and fix a cup of tea before sitting down to your writing. At other times, it may come at 4 o’clock in the morning before everyone wakes up. You sip on the first cup of French Roast coffee and turn on the computer while peace still reigns.

Savor those extraordinarily good and wonderful moments when the words are flowing, writer’s cramp hasn’t hit, your mind is sharp and inspiration abounds.  Serenity and serendipity are both beneficial to a writing life. As is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Is it rolling off your tongue yet without getting all tripped up?


Donna Smith said...

Taking a break was one of the good lessons my mother taught me. When things are bumbling along at best, take a break. It does wonders.

Mainely Write

Lissa Johnston said...

Sometimes it's just easier to sing than to say:

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