My sister-in-law, Manda, visited us from Washington during Thanksgiving. Ben and I had the luxury of going out with her and her fiancé one evening, while my in-laws watched the kids. Over dinner, we caught up and she asked me about my blog. She mentioned that she thought I was becoming a better writer. I appreciated the compliment not because I want to be a better writer, but because I hope to become a better communicator.
There is nothing like writing daily that makes you realize how lacking your vocabulary is. About 75% of my conversation consists of the words “dude,” “word,” and “rad.” And while those phrases are sufficient to manage most of my daily exchanges, it might be nice to mix things up with the occasional “I concur.”
Writing is making it painfully obvious how lacking I am in the talking department. If I actually counted how many times I utter “like” in a day, my head would, like, explode. Since I am hoping to earn a teaching degree, talking is a skill I might want to improve upon.
I’m sure writers have always utilized the thesaurus, but modern writers have the advantage of having it a click away. For giggles, while typing this post, I checked for synonyms for dude- guy, fellow, man. As silly as it sounds, in terms of communication, there is a difference. Is that fellow across the room just some guy or is he my dude?
Vocabulary should not be wielded as a method to prove your intellect. It is used to express the exact nature of your feelings. To describe a setting in detail, so the reader or listener experiences your tale with you. I feel like I’ve gotten lazy with words. Why say exactly what I mean, when I can kind of sort of tell you what I’m thinking? It’s a lot easier. I still myself structuring my sentences in the exact same way, line after line. Utilizing a broad vocabulary is not natural to me. I struggle not to lean on clichés.
But I think the exercise of writing is helping me to be more conscious of these things. I try harder to find the words to say what I mean, even if I fail from time to time and spew forth ramblings without thought. I haven’t eliminated rad from my conversations, but I’ll throw in an occasional awesome to keep it fresh.
Still, if in a few years, your first grader responds with “word” when you tell him grandma is coming over for a visit, you might want to have a talk with his new teacher. Call her “dude” so she knows you speak on her level.