Words can be powerful if they are used strategically.
Think of the most beautiful person you know. Let’s just use J-Lo as an example, since she was recently named Most Beautiful Woman by People. Whether you like her or not, for 41, she looks pretty darn good.
So put Jennifer Lopez in the spotlight, and she’s quite a sight. She makes her own statement. You can adore her flawless skin, beautiful eyes, flowing hair, and smooth curves.
Put Mrs. Lopez at the zoo, on public school day, with a twin on each hip (she’s a mom of twins, if you can believe that), and she looks like a mom. An attractive mom, but just another mom in the crowd.
The same is true of words.
Choose the most beautiful words to represent your idea, and place each word in the spotlight. Readers will feel the rhythm, soak in the sounds, and grasp the power of your statement.
However, when you take your well chosen words and surround them with a bazillion other words, some with the same meaning, you dilute the power of your writing. The most beautiful phrase in the world becomes lost in the crowd.
Here are a few practical tips to help your words preserve their mojo.
1) Carefully select the most choice words to represent the subject of your sentence.
2) End your statement with power. Placement of words within a sentence is crucial. The last word should resonate.
3) Say it once. Don’t rephrase your idea in a second sentence, like I just did. It dilutes the impact. If your words pack power, you will not need to repeat them.
4) In On Writing by Stephen the King, the prolific and insanely popular writer tells us that he cuts his drafts by at least 10% during editing. So arm yourself with bandages and antiseptic, then hack at your masterpiece until it’s polished.
5) Don’t rely on a thesaurus. Instead, read good literature to improve your vocabulary and your eye for great phrasing. Real chefs don’t use cookbooks. Professional gardeners don’t consult the Home Depot gardening staff. You should not rely on tools for quick fixes. Improve yourself long term by sharpening your own tools — those that reside between your ear — and you can become a professional writer.