by Cait Collins
I’ve been thinking a lot about words these days. Just how do word choices affect those who read my writings? Will I encourage or discourage; reason or incite; honor or desecrate? Will I set a scene or leave the reader confused? With all the words out there, one would think word choice would be simple. In reality, it is not because the writer is not in control of the reader’s mood.
Let’s say you had a rough day at work. You get home, pick up a news magazine and begin reading. The writer is not a fan of your favorite politician, so you begin seeing insults in every sentence. A comment like, “the candidate was not well prepared for questions regarding a new trade agreement” sets you off. Immediately you assume the author considers the politician as stupid or lazy. Instead of reading the next paragraph where the gentleman receives accolades for his knowledge of education issues, you toss the publication aside and send out a tweet stating the writer is incompetent and should refrain from speaking publically about things of which he has no knowledge. Your insults create a chain reaction of responses calling you stupid or a slew of messages supporting your stand. But what if your day had gone well? Would you have been more open minded? Would you have read the article to the end and maybe agreed that trade was a weak topic for the candidate? It’s all in your view of the world on the day you read the article.
While I think it’s important to select words carefully, I realize each person reacts to a work in his own way. Using rose instead of pink to describe a sunrise will create a warm memory for one reader, make another feel as if the author is color blind, send another to a travel agent to arrange a cruise to the tropical island where the sun was rising. In reality, we will all have critics. Some will stone us, others will praise our work, and some can take the book or leave it. It’s best to develop a thick skin and let the negative roll off our backs. Someone will appreciate our writings; even if it is just our moms.